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B.D.,  LITT.D.,  HON.  D.D.  (GLASG.), 


LONGMANS,     GREEN     AND     CO. 
LONDON     »     NEW    YORK    *     TORONTO 


6    A     7    CLIFFORD    STREET    LONDON     W     1 


.55    FIFTH    AVENUE    NEW    YORK    3 





"  For  heaven's  «akr,  buy  two  books :  KANT'S  '  Fundamental  Principles 
of  the  Metaphysic  of  Morals,'  and  KAMI'S  'Critical  Examination  of  tbc 
Practical  Reason.'  KANT  is  not  a  light  of  the  world,  but  a.  whole  solar 
system  at  once."— JEAN  PAUL  KICHTER. 

First  Edition  of  this  Translation  1X73 

Sixth  Edition  1900. 

Reprinted  by  Photographic  Process  1948  and  1954 



THIS  volume  contains  the  whole  of  Kant's  works  on 
the  General  Theory  of  Ethics.  It  consists  of  four 
parts  : — 

I.  A  complete  translation  of  the  Grundlegung  zur 
Metaphysik  der  Sitten.     This  work  was  first  published 
in  1785. 

II.  A  complete  translation  of  the  Kritik  tier  Prak- 
tischen  Vernunft  (first  published  in  1788). 

III.  A  translation  of  the  General  Introduction  to 
the  Metaphysical  Elements  of  Moral  Philosophy  (Meta- 
physische   Anfangsgriinde   der   Sittenlehre],   and  of   the 
Preface  and  Introduction  to  the  Metaphysical  Elements 
of  Ethics  (Metaph.  Anfangsgriinde  der  Tugendlehre] . 

IV.  The  first  portion  of  Die  Religion  innerhalb  der 
Grenzen  der  blossen  Vernunfty   otherwise  named  Philoso- 
phische  Religionslehre.    This  portion  was  first  published 

1  I.e.   "Religion,   so  far  as  it  lies  within  the  limits  of  Reason 
alone";  not  "pure  Reason,"  as  some  German  and  perhaps  all  English 


by  Kant  himself  separately  (in  1792),  and  it  appears 
to  me  to  be  indispensable  to  a  complete  view  of  Kant's 
Ethics.  The  remainder  of  the  work  (first  edition, 
1793)  does  not  come  within  the  sphere  of  Ethics 

I  have  added,  in  an  appendix,  a  translation  of 
Kant's  essay — Ueber  ein  vermeintes  Recht  aus  Menschen- 
liebe  zu  liigen  (1797)  :  Werke,  ed.  Rosenkr.,  vol.  vii., 
which  is  interesting  as  throwing  further  light  on 
Kant's  application  of  his  principles. 

The  first  of  these  treatises  and  half  of  the  second 
were  translated  by  Mr.  Semple  (Edinburgh,  1836  ; 
reprinted  1869)  in  connexion  with  the  greater  part 
of  the  Metaphysik  der  Sitten  (which  is  concerned 
with  the  discussion  of  particular  virtues  and  vices). 
Mr.  Semple  has  also  translated  (in  a  distinct  volume) 
the  Religion  u.  s.  w. 

The  edition  which  I  have  used  is  that  of  Kant's 
whole  works,  by  Rosenkranz  and  Schubert,  vol.  viii. 
of  which  contains  the  Grundlegung  and  the  Kritik,  and 
vol.  x.  the  Religion.  For  convenience  of  reference  to 
the  original,  I  have  given  at  the  top  of  each  page  the 
corresponding  pages  of  Rosenkranz'  edition.  It  is  not 

writers  on  the  history  of  philosophy  have  it.  Kant  himself,  indeed 
writes  "reiner"  in  one  place  (p.  •GO,  note);  but  this  is,  doubtless,  a 
slip,  if  not  a  printer's  error.  Slips  of  the  same  kind  are  frequent,  as 
mv  foot-notes  show. 


very  accurately  printed  ;  and  where  the  errors  are 
obvious,  I  have  silently  corrected  them  ;  others  I  have 
noticed  in  foot-notes.  Many  of  these  errors  seem  to 
have  been  handed  down  through  all  editions  from  the 
first.  Hartenstein's  edition  is  more  carefully  revised, 
and  I  have  referred  to  it  and  to  Kirchmann's  in  cases 
of  doubt.  Kant's  grammatical  errors,  partly  provin 
cialisms,  partly  due  to  his  age,  are  usually  corrected 
by  Hartenstein.  but  silently,  which  is  a  somewhat 
questionable  proceeding  in  an  editor.  Amongst  these 
errors  are  :  uncertainty  in  the  use  of  the  indicative 
and  conjunctive  ;  "an  almost  thoroughgoing  misuse 
of  prepositions"  (Hartenstein);  and  irregularities  in 
the  gender  of  substantives.  His  use  of  "vor"  for 
*'  fiir"  has  been  generally  corrected  by  editors :  where 
"vor"  remains,  the  reader  must  remember  that  its 
retention  is  a  matter  of  judgment. 

I  have  to  express  my  obligation  to  Professor  Selss 
for  his  kindness  in  revising  the  proofs,  and  for  many 
valuable  suggestions. 

The  Memoir  prefixed  will,  it  is  hoped,  prove 



IN  this  edition  some  corrections  have  been  made. 

The  Portrait  prefixed  is  from  a  photograph  of  an 
oil-painting  in  the  possession  of  Grafe  and  Unzer, 
booksellers,  of  Konigsberg.  It  is  inferior,  as  a  work 
of  art,  to  the  portrait  engraved  in  the  former  edition ; 
but  as  it  represents  Kant  in  the  vigour  of  his  age, 
and,  unlike  the  former,  has  never  appeared  in  any 
bookr  readers  will  probably  be  pleased  with  the  sub 
stitution.  I  possess  also  a  copy  of  a  rare  full-length 
silhouette,  photographic  copies  of  which  can  be 

My  notes  are  in  square  brackets. 



MEMOIR.  .  xiii 


AUTHOR'S  PREFACE, ,         .        .         1 



TO  THE  PHILOSOPHICAL,  .  .......        9 


OF  MORALS,         ..........      23 

Autonomy  of  the  Will  the  Supreme  Principle  of  Morality,     .       59 
Heteronomy  of   the  Will  the  source  of  all  Spurious  Prin 
ciples  of  Morality,     . ib. 

Classification   of  all   Principles   of   Morality   which   can   be 

founded  on  the  Conception  of  Heteronomy,       ...       60 




The  Concept  of  Freedom  is  the  Key  that  explains  the  Auto 
nomy  of  the  Will, ib. 

Freedom  must  be  presupposed  as  a  Property  of  the  Will  of  all 

Rational  Beings,        ........  66 

Of  the  Interest  attaching  to  the  Ideas  of  Morality,          .         .  67 
How  is  a  Categorical  Imperative  possible  ?     .         .         .         .73 

Of  the  Extreme  Limits  of  all  Practical  Philosophy,         .         .  75 

Concluding  Remark, 83 




PREFACE,          ....  ....  .87 

INTRODUCTION,          ......  .  .     101 

Of  the  Idea  of  a  Critical  Examination  of  Practical  Reason,     .       ib. 


BOOK     1. 


OP  THE  PRINCIPLES  OF  PURE  PRACTICAL  REASON,          .         .         .     105 

I.  Of  the   Deduction  of   the  Principles  of  Pure  Practical 

Reason,       .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .1:11 

II.  Of  the  Right  of  Pure  Reason  in  its  Practical  Use  to  an 
Extension  which  is  not  possible  to  it  in  its  Specu 
lative  Use,  140 


Of  the  Typic  of  the  Pure  Practical  Judgment,         .          .         .      1-V.t 


OF  THE  MOTIVES  OF  PURE  PRACTICAL  REASON,       .         .         .        .     1«>4 
Critical  Examination  of  the  Analytic  of  Pure  Practical  Reason,     ]  S'2 


BOOK    II. 







Antinomy  of  Practical  Reason,        .....     20!) 
If  ./Critical  Solution  of  the  Antinomy,  ....     210 

I.  Of  the  Primacy  of  Pure  Practical  Reason  in  its  Union 

with  the  Speculative  Reason, 21(i 

IV.  The  Immortality  of  the  Soul  a  Postulate  of  Pure  Practical 
/*-*• ^         Reason,     .........     218 

'(    V/'  The    Existence   of   God  a   Postulate  of   Pure   Practical 

Reason,       .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .     220 

VI.  Of  the  Postulates  of  Pure  Practical  Reason  generally,     .     229 

VII.  How  is  it  possible  to  conceive  an  Extension  of  Pure 
Reason  in  a  Practical  point  of  view,  without  its 
Knowledge  as  Speculative  being  enlarged  at  the 
same  time  ? 2.'U 

VIII.  Of  Belief  from  a  Requirement  of  Pure  Reason,        .         .     240 

IX.  Of  the  Wise  Adaptation  of  Man's  Cognitive  Faculties  to 

his  Practical  Destination,  .....     240 


METHODOLOGY  OF  PURE  PRACTICAL  REASON,           .         .         .  242 

CONCLUSION,      .  ...  2i>0 





I.  Of  the  Relation  of  the  Faculties  of  the  Human  Mind  to 

the  Moral  Laws.  .......       ib. 

II.  Of  the  Conception  and  the  Necessity  of  a  Metaphysic  of 

Ethics 270 

III.  Of  the  Subdivision  of  a  Metaphysic  of  Morals,         .         .     274 

IV.  Preliminary  Notions   belonging   to   the  Metaphysic   of 

Morals.         .........     277 



NOTE  ON  CONSCIENCE,       .  .     321 



OF  THE  RADICAL  EVIL  IN  HUMAN  NATURE,            ....  325 

I.  Of  the  Original  Capacity  for  Good  in  Human  Nature,      .  332 

II.  Of  the  Propensity  to  Evil  in  Human  Nature,            .         .  335 

III.  Man  is  by  Nature  Bad,             339 

IV.  Of  the  Origin  of  the  Evil  in  Human  Nature,            .         .  347 
[V.]*  On  the  Restoration  of  the  Original  Capacity  for  Good  to 

its  Full  Power, 352 

*So  marked  in  Kant's  first  edition. 

APPENDIX,                    361 

I.  On   a   supposed   Right   to   Tell   Lies   from    Benevolent  • 

Motives,      .         .                  ......  ib. 

II.  On  the  Saying  "  Necessity  has  no  Law,"           .         .         .  365 

INDEX,  ...  367 


IMMANUEL  KANT  was  born  in  Konigsberg  on  the  22nd 
of  April,  1724,  thirteen  years  after  Hume,  and  four 
teen  after  Reid.  His  family  was  of  Scottish  origin, 
his  grandfather  having  been  one  of  the  many  Scotch 
men  who  emigrated  from  Scotland  at  the  end  of  the 
seventeenth  century,  some  settling  in  Prussia,  and 
some  in  Sweden ;  and  he  is  said  to  have  been  him 
self  the  first  to  change  the  spelling  of  the  name  from 
Cant,  which  he  did  in  order  to  avoid  the  mispronun 
ciation  Zant.  His  father  was  a  saddler  in  modest,  if 
not  humble,  circumstances.  Both  parents  were  persons 
of  simple  and  sincere  piety.  Kant  himself,  although 
he  did  not  sympathize  with  their  religious  views,  bears 
the  strongest  testimony  to  the  practical  effect  of  their 
religion  on  their  life.  "  Although,"  said  he,  speaking 
warmly,  ' '  the  religious  ideas  of  that  time,  and  the 
notions  of  what  was  called  virtue  and  piety,  were  far 
from  being  distinct  and  satisfactory,  yet  such  persons 
had  the  root  of  the  matter  in  them.  Let  men  decry 
pietism  as  they  may,  the  people  who  were  in  earnest 
with  it  were  honourably  distinguished.  They  pos 
sessed  the  highest  that  man  can  possess — that  calm, 
that  serenity,  that  inward  peace  which  is  not  dis 
turbed  by  any  passion.  No  trouble,  no  persecution 


dismayed  them  ;  no  contest  had  the  power  to  stir 
them  up  to  anger  or  hostility  :  in  a  word,  even  the 
mere  observer  was  involuntarily  compelled  to  respect 
them.  I  still  remember,"  added  he,  li  how  a  quarrel 
once  broke  out  between  the  harness-makers  and  the 
saddlers  about  their  respective  privileges.  My  father 
suffered  considerably  ;  nevertheless,  even  in  conversa 
tion  amongst  his  own  family  he  spoke  about  this  quarrel 
with  such  forbearance  and  love  towards  his  opponents, 
and  with  such  firm  trust  in  Providence,  that,  although 
I  was  then  only  a  boy,  I  shall  never  forget  it.''  Of 
his  mother,  especially,  he  ever  retained  a  tender  and 
grateful  memory,  saying,  "  I  shall  never  forget  my 
mother,  for  she  planted  and  fostered  the  first  germ 
of  good  in  me  :  she  opened  my  heart  to  the  impres 
sions  of  nature,  she  awoke  and  enlarged  my  thoughts, 
and  her  teaching  has  always  had  an  enduring  and 
wholesome  influence  on  my  life."  She  died  when  he 
was  only  thirteen,  and  even  in  his  later  years  he  could 
scarcely  restrain  his  emotion  when  he  related  to  his 
intimate  friends  how  she  had  sacrificed  her  own  life 
through  her  devotion  to  a  friend.1  Kant  strongly 
resembled  his  mother  in  features  and  in  his  singularly 
contracted  chest. 

1  The  circumstances  are  worth  recording-  here  :  This  friend  had 
fallen  into  a  fever  in  consequence  of  being  abandoned  by  her  betrothed 
lover,  to  whom  she  was  deeply  attached.  She  could  not  be  induced 
to  swallow  the  nauseous  draughts  prescribed  for  her,  and  Kant's 
mother,  who  nursed  her,  having  failed  in  her  attempt  at  persuasion, 
thought  to  succeed  by  setting  the  example  of  taking  the  medicine 
herself.  When  she  had  done  so,  she  was  seized  with  nausea  and 
shivering,  and  at  the  same  time  observing  spots  on  her  friend's  body, 
which  she  took  for  fever-spots  or  petechiae,  her  imagination  was 
excited,  thinking  that  she  had  caught  the  infection.  She  was  seized 
with  fever  the  same  day,  and  died  a  few  days  after. 


At  ten  years  of  age  Kant  was  sent  to  the  Collegium 
Fridericianum,  where  he  continued  for  seven  years. 
Here  he  applied  himself  chiefly  to  classical  studies, 
and  learned  to  write  Latin  with  ease  and  fluency. 
Of  Greek  he  does  not  seem  to  have  ever  read  much. 

Amongst  his  schoolfellows  was  David  Ruhnken, 
and  these  two,  with  a  third,  named  Kunde,  read  their 
favourite  authors  together,  and  laid  their  plans  for  the 
future,  all  three  proposing  to  devote  themselves  to 
classical  literature.  Ruhnken  actually  attained  high 
distinction  in  this  field.  At  the  age  of  sixteen  Kant 
passed  to  the  University,  where  he  applied  himself 
chiefly  to  mathematics  and  philosophy,  the  instruc 
tion  in  his  favourite  subject,  the  ancient  classics,  being 
inadequate.  He  had  entered  himself  as  a  theological 
student,  and,  as  was  then  the  practice  with  such 
students  in  Prussia,  he  occasionally  preached  in  the 
neighbouring  churches.  Indeed,  he  had  completed  his 
theological  course  when  he  finally  gave  up  that  line  of 
study.  No  doubt  his  tastes  had  been  long  turning  in 
a  different  direction  ;  but  the  immediate  cause  of  his 
decision  seems  to  have  been  the  failure  of  his  appli 
cation  for  a  subordinate  post  in  a  school,  such  posts 
being  usually  the  first  step  to  ecclesiastical  appoint 

During  the  latter  part  of  his  residence  at  the  Uni 
versity  he  had  been  obliged  to  eke  out  his  scanty 
means  by  giving  instruction  in  classics,  mathematics, 
and  natural  philosophy  to  some  of  his  fellow-students, 
for  whom  the  lectures  of  the  professors  were  too  diffi 
cult  ;  but  the  little  that  he  could  earn  in  this  way  was 
insufficient  for  his  support,  when  by  his  father's  death 
(1746)  he  was  thrown  altogether  on  his  own  resources. 


He  therefore  sought  and  obtained  employment  as  a 
resident  tutor  in  families  of  distinction.  He  was  thus 
engaged  for  nine  years,  and,  according  to  his  own  can 
did  confession  in  later  years,  there  was  hardly  ever  a 
tutor  with  a  better  theory  or  a  worse  practice.  How 
ever  that  may  be,  he  certainly  gained  the  affection  of 
his  pupils,  and  ,the  respect  of  their  parents.  At  the 
beginning  of  this  period  he  published  his  first  work — 
an  Essay  on  the  estimation  of  vis  viva ;  and  towards 
the  end  of  it  his  second — a  brief  discussion  of  the 
question  whether  the  length  of  the  day  has  undergone 
any  change,  a  question  which  had  been  proposed  by 
the  Berlin  Academy  as  the  subject  for  a  prize  essay. 
Kant  argues  that  the  tides  must  have  the  effect  of 
retarding  the  earth's  rotation,  and  he  enters  into  a 
rough  calculation  of  the  amount  of  this  retardation, 
his  first  step  to  a  conjectural  approximation  being  an 
estimate  of  the  effect  of  the  impulse  of  the  water  on 
the  whole  east  coast  of  the  American  continent.  His 
suggestion  was  sound1  and  sagacious ;  but  he  overrated 
vastly  the  amount  of  the  effect.  He  inferred  that  the 
day  had  lengthened  by  about  1JS  in  two  thousand 
years.  According  to  Delaunay,  the  actual  amount  of 
retardation  is  I8  in  200,000  years.  This  result  is  based 
on  historical  facts  (the  record  of  eclipses).  Kant's  was 
a  purely  physical  calculation,  and  for  this  he  did  not 

1  See  an  essay  by  tlie  present  writer  on  the  Theory  of  the  Tides 
in  the  Philosophical  Magazine,  January,  1870  ;  February,  1871  ;  and 
January,  1872  ;  and  in  the  Quarterly  Journal  of  Mathematics,  March, 
1872;  and  on  the  amount  of  the  retardation,  Hermathena,  1882. 
(These  essays  have  now  been  published  in  a  volume.)  Kant  subse 
quently  thought  of  another  cause,  which  might  operate  in  the  oppo 
site  direction,  viz.  the  condensation  of  the  interior  parts  of  the  earth. 
He  did  not,  however,  publish  the  suggestion. 


possess  sufficient  data.  On  account  of  this  inevitable 
lack  of  precision,  he  did  not  offer  his  essay  in  com 
petition  for  the  prize. 

The  same  essay  contained  another  very  remark 
able  suggestion  in  explanation  of  the  fact  that  the 
moon  always  presents  the  same  face  to  the  earth.  In 
fact,  if  the  moon  were  originally  in  a  fluid  state,  the 
tides  produced  in  it  by  the  earth  (which  would  be  very 
great)  would  similarly  retard  its  rotation  until  the  fluid 
surface  attained  a  position  of  equilibrium  relatively  to 
the  earth,  i.  e.  until  the  moon  rotated  round  its  axis 
in  the  same  time  that  it  revolved  round  the  earth. 
This  speculation  has  been  recently  brought  forward 
as  novel. 

The  conjecture  as  to  the  moon's  original  fluidity 
was  no  isolated  one  in  Kant's  mind  ;  on  the  contrary, 
he  speaks  of  it  as  part  of  a  general  theory  of  the 
heavens,  which  he  was  about  to  publish.  In  the  fol 
lowing  year  (1755),  accordingly,  he  published  (anony 
mously)  an  important  work  of  about  200  pages, 
entitled,  A  General  Theory  of  the  Heavens  ;  or,  Essay  on  the 
Mechanical  Origin  of  the  Structure  of  the  Universe,  on  the 
Principles  of  Newton.  This  work  is  an  elaborate  exposi 
tion  of  the  Nebular  Theory,  commonly  called  by  the 
name  of  Laplace,  although  Laplace's  Systeme  du  Monde 
was  not  published  till  forty  years  later  (1796).  The 
only  considerable  differences  are,  first,  that  Laplace 
supposes  the  condensation  of  the  diffused  matter  to  be 
the  result  of  cooling ;  and,  secondly,  that  he  postulates 
an  original  movement  of  rotation ;  whereas  Kant 
thought  he  could  account  for  both  condensation  and 
rotation  from  the  two  elementary  forces  of  attraction 
and  repulsion.  It  is  not  easy  to  say  whether  Laplace 



was  aware  of  Kant's  priority.  He  asserts,  indeed,  that 
he  was  not  aware  of  any  theory  except  Buffon's  (a 
rather  extravagant  one);  but  then  Laplace  never  did 
acknowledge  that  he  borrowed  anything  from  anybody 
else.  Even  when  he  used  the  mathematical  discoveries 
of  contemporary  Frenchmen,  he  introduces  them  as  if 
they  were  his  own ;  how  much  more  if  lie  adopted  a 
suggestion  of  an  anonymous  German  philosopher.  If 
lie  really  did  calculate  on  the  ignorance  of  his  reader, 
the  event  lias  justified  his  expectation  ;  for  even  those 
writers  who  mention  Kant's  priority  speak  as  if  Kant 
had  merely  thrown  out  a  hint,  while  Laplace  had 
developed  a  theory  ;  whereas,  in  fact,  Kant  wrote  a 
treatise  on  the  subject,  and  Laplace  only  a  few  pages.1 
Kant  begins  by  defending  his  attempt  against  the 
possible  objections  of  those  who  might  regard  it  as  an 
endeavour  to  dispense  with  the  necessity  for  a  Divine 
Author.  Such  persons,  he  says,  appear  to  suppose 
that  nature,  left  to  its  own  laws,  would  produce  only 
disorder,  and  that  the  adaptations  we  admire  indicate 
the  interference  of  a  compelling  hand,  as  if  nature 
were  a  rebellious  subject  that  could  be  reduced  to 
order  only  by  compulsion,  or  else  were  an  indepen 
dent  principle,  whose  properties  are  uncaused,  and 
which  God  strives  to  reduce  into  the  plan  of  His  pur 
poses.  But,  answers  he,  if  the  general  laws  of  matter 
are  themselves  a  result  of  supreme  wisdom,  must  they 
not  be  fitted  to  carry  out  its  wise  design  ?  In  fact, 

1  I  do  not  suppose  it  likely  that  Laplace  should  have  seen  Kant's 
anonymous  book  ;  but  it  must  be  remembered  that  Kant  mentioned 
his  theory  in  several  publications,  and  probably  referred  to  it  in  his 

MEMOIB    OF   KANT.  xix 

we  have  here  a  powerful  weapon  in  aid  of  Theism. 
When  we  trace  certain  beneficial  effects  to  the  regular 
working  of  the  laws  of  nature,  we  see  that  these  effects 
are  not  produced  by  chance,  but  that  these  laws  can 
work  in  no  other  way.  But  if  the  nature  of  things 
were  independent  and  necessary,  what  an  astounding 
accident,  or  rather  what  an  impossibility,  would  it  not 
be  that  they  should  fit  together  just  as  a  wise  and 
good  choice  would  have  made  them  fit !  As  this 
applies  to  such  reasoning  in  general,  so  it  applies  also 
to  the  present  undertaking.  We  shall  find  that  matter 
had  certain  laws  imposed  on  it,  by  virtue  of  which  it 
necessarily  produced  the  finest  combinations.  That 
there  is  a  God  is  proved  even  by  this,  that  nature, 
even  in  chaos,  could  only  proceed  with  regularity  and 

He  proceeds  to  work  out  in  detail  the  problem 
of  the  formation  of  the  planets  out  of  the  originally 
diffused  matter,  taking  into  consideration  the  eccen 
tricities,  inclinations,  &c.,  of  the  planets,  the  rings 
of  Saturn,  the  satellites,  the  comets.  It  is  noticeable 
that  he  does  not,  like  Laplace,  regard  the  rings  of 
Saturn  as  an  illustration  of  his  theory.  On  account 
of  their  large  inclination  to  the  ecliptic  (28~),  he 
thought  it  necessary  to  assign  to  them  a  different 
origin.  His  hypothesis  was  that  they  were  pro 
duced  by  emanations  from  the  planet  itself,  and 
he  showed  further  (as  Laplace  afterwards  did) 
that  the  ring  must  have  a  movement  of  rotation, 
and  that  in  consequence  of  the  different  velocities 
belonging  to  different  distances  from  the  planet,  its 
stability  required  that  it  should  consist  of  several 
distinct  rings.  This  conjecture,  or  rather  deduction, 

b  2 


has  been  verified.  He  also  conjectured,  as  a  result  of 
his  hypothesis  regarding  the  formation  of  the  ring, 
that  the  greatest  velocity  of  rotation  of  particles  of  the 
inner  ring  would  be  the  same  as  that  of  the  planet's 
equator.  From  this  consideration,  combined  with  the 
assumption  that  the  ring  conforms  to  Kepler's  third 
law,  he  deduced  the  time  of  the  planet's  rotation.  He 
drew  particular  attention  to  this  as  the  first  prediction 
of  the  kind.  His  deduction,  however,  has  not  been 
verified.  Saturn's  time  of  rotation  is  nearly  double 
what  it  ought  to  be  on  Kant's  theory.1  Another  con 
jecture  of  his,  subsequently  verified,  was,  that  there 
are  planets  beyond  Saturn.  Later,  he  conjectured 
also  the  existence  of  a  planet  between  Mars  and 

Kant  then  extends  his  view  to  the  sidereal  system. 
He  states  that  the  first  to  suggest  to  him  that  the  fixed 
stars  constituted  a  system  was  Wright,  of  Durham.5 
Kant  develops  this  conception.  If  gravitation  is  a 

1  Kant  assumed  too  hastily  that  Kepler's  third  law  applies  to  the 
particles  of  the  ring,  which  amounts  to  supposing  that  their  mutual 
disturbances  are  negligible.  Yet,  considering  the  form  of  the  rings, 
this  is  not  a  violent  hypothesis. 

•  Phys.  Geoffr.,  p.  449. 

3  Wright's  work  was  entitled,  An  Original  Theory;  or,  a  New  Hypo 
thesis  of  the  Universe  founded  on  the  Laws  of  Nature.  By  Thomas  "Wright, 
of  Durham.  London,  1750.  It  is  singular  that  the  speculations  of 
this  ingenious  and  original  writer  have  been  saved  from  oblivion  in 
his  own  country  by  Kant,  who  was  indebted  for  his  knowledge  of 
them  to  a  German  periodical.  Prof.  De  Morgan  has  described  Wright's 
work  at  some  length  in  the  Philosophical  Magazine  for  April,  1848; 
but  De  Morgan's  attention  was  drawn  to  it  by  Arago's  notice  in  the 
Annuaire  for  1842  ;  and  Arago,  who  had  not  seen  the  book,  only  knew 
it  through  Kant's  reference.  There  is  an  account  of  Wright  in  the 
Gentleman's  Magazine,  1793,  vol.  Ixiii.,  pt.  i. 

MEMOIR   OF   KANT.  xxi 

universal  property  of  matter,  we  cannot  suppose  the 
sun's  attractive  force  limited  to  our  system ;  but  if  it 
extends  to  the  nearest  fixed  star,  and  if  the  fixed  stars, 
like  suns,  exercise  a  similar  force  around  them,  then 
they  would,  sooner  or  later,  fall  together,  if  not 
prevented  (like  the  planets)  by  a  centrifugal  force. 
Hence  we  may  conclude  that  all  the  stars  of  the 
firmament  have  their  own  orbital  motion.  If  we  con 
ceive  our  planetary  system  multiplied  a  thousand-fold, 
and  the  several  bodies  in  it  to  be  self-luminous,  the 
appearance,  as  seen  from  the  earth,  would  resemble 
that  of  the  Milky  Way.  The  form  of  the  heaven  of 
the  fixed  stars  then  is  in  great  an  effect  of  the  same 
systematic  arrangement  as  our  system  in  little  ;  our 
sun  with  the  other  stars  are,  in  short,  the  planets  of 
a  .vaster  system,  which  is,  in  fact,  the  Milky  Way.1 
There  may  be  many  such  systems,  and  some  of  these 
may  appear  to  us  as  nebulae,  and  these  being  seen 
obliquely  would  present  an  elliptic  form.  The  Milky 
Way  seen  from  a  sufficient  distance  would  appear 
like  one  of  these  elliptic  nebulae.  But  these  systems, 
again,  may  be  mutually  related,  and  constitute  to 
gether  a  still -more  immeasurable  system.  This  opens 
to  us  a  view  into  the  infinite  field  of  creation,  and 
gives  us  a  conception  of  the  work  of  God  suitable  to 
the  infinity  of  the  great  Creator.  If  the  magnitude 
of  a  planetary  system  in  which  the  earth  is  as  a  grain 
of  sand  fills  our'  understanding  with  wonder,  with 
what  amazement  are  we  seized  when  we  consider  the 
vast  multitude  of  worlds  and  systems  which  constitute 

1  This  suggestion  of  Kant's  anticipated  Lambert's  similar  sugges 
tion  by  six  years. 

X\ii  MEMOIR   OF    KANT. 

the  Milky  Way;  and  how  is  this  amazement  increased 
again  when  we  learn  that  all  these  immeasurable  star 
systems  are  in  their  turn  only  a  unit  in  a  number 
whose  limit  we  know  not,  and  which  is  perhaps  as 
inconceivably  great  as  the  former,  while  it  is  itself 

mf  0 

the  unit  of  a  new  combination.1  There  is  here  a 
veritable  abyss  of  immensity  in  which  all  human 
power  of  conception  is  lost.  The  wisdom,  the  good 
ness,  the  power,  that  are  revealed  are  infinite,  and  in 
the  same  degree  fruitful  and  active ;  the  plan  of  its 
revelation  must,  therefore,  be  equally  infinite.  He 
ventures  upon  the  conjecture  (giving  his  reasons)  that 
nature  may  in  course  of  time  be  again  reduced  to 
chaos,  and  again  emerge  like  a  phoenix  from  its 
ashes.  When  we  contemplate  nature  in  these  suc 
cessive  changes,  carrying  out  the  plan  by  which  God 
reveals  Himself  in  wonders  that  fill  space  and  eternity, 
the  mind  is  overwhelmed  with  astonishment ;  but  not 
satisfied  with  this  vast  yet  perishable  object,  the  soul 
desires  to  know  more  nearly  that  Being  whose  intelli 
gence  and  whose  greatness  are  the  source  of  that  light 
which  spreads  as  from  a  centre  over  all  nature.  With 
what  awe  must  not  the  soul  regard  even  its  own 
nature,  when  it  reflects  that  it  shall  outlive  all  these 
changes.  U0  happy,"  he  exclaims,  "when  amid  the 
tumult  of  the  elements  and  the  ruin  of  nature  it  is 
placed  on  a  height  from  whence  it  can,  as  it  were,  see 
beneath  its  feet  the  desolation  of  all  perishable  things 

1  This  conception  is  alluded  to  in  the  Critique  of  Practical  Reason, 
p.  376.  Humboldt  erroneously  identifies  Kant's  view  of  the  nebulae 
with  that  of  Lambert  and  Halley :  Cosmos  (Sabine's  transl.),  vol.  iii., 
p.  223. 

MEMOIR   OF    KANT.  X.xiii 

of  the  world.  Reason  could  not  even  dare  to  wish  for 
such  happiness,  but  Revelation  teaches  us  to  hope  for 
it  with  confidence.  When  the  fetters  that  have  bound 
us  to  the  vanity  of  the  creature  have  fallen  off,  the 
immortal  spirit  will  find  itself  in  the  enjoyment  of 
true  happiness  in  communion  with  the  Infinite  Being. 
The  contemplation  of  the  harmony  of  universal  nature 
with  the  will  of  God  must  fill  with  ever-increasing 
satisfaction  the  rational  creature  who  finds  himself 
united  to  this  source  of  all  perfection.1  Viewed  from 
this  centre,  nature  will  show  on  all  sides  nothing  but 
stability  and  fitness ;  its  changes  cannot  interfere  with 
the  happiness  of  a  creature  who  has  reached  this 
height.  In  sweet  foretaste  of  this  condition  the  soul 
can  exercise  its  mouth  in  those  songs  of  praise  with 
which  all  eternity  shall  ring  : — 

"  '  When  nature  fails,  and  day  and  night 

Divide  thy  works  no  more, 
My  ever-grateful  heart,  0  Lord, 

Thy  mercy  shall  adore. 
Through  all  eternity  to  thee 

A  joyful  song  I  '11  raise  ; 
For,  oh !  eternity  's  too  short 

To  utter  all  thy  praise.'  "2  ADDISON. 

Discussing  the  question,  whether  the  planets  are 
inhabited,  he  states  his  opinion  that  it  would  be  absurd 
to  deny  this  as  to  all  or  even  most  of  them.  But  in 
the  wealth  of  nature,  in  which  worlds  and  systems  are 
to  the  whole  creation  only  sundust,  there  may  well  be 

1  Compare  Bishop  Butler's  second  Sermon  on  the  Love  of  God, 
where  he  speaks  of  viewing  the  scheme  of  the  universe  in  the  mind 
that  projected  it. 

~  Quoted  by  Kant  from  a  German  translation. 

xxiv  MEMOIR   OF   KANT. 

waste  and  uninhabited  places  as  there  are  uninhabited 
wastes  on  our  own  earth.  Perhaps,  indeed,  he  adds, 
some  of  the  planets  are  not  yet  brought  into  a  state 
fit  for  habitation  ;  it  may  take  thousands  of  years  to 
bring  the  matter  of  a  great  planet  into  a  steady  con 
dition.  Jupiter  appears  to  be  in  this  transition  state. 
One  planet  may  come  to  its  perfection  thousands  of 
years  later  than  another.1  We  may  be  sure  that  most 
of  the  planets  are  inhabited,  and  those  that  are  not  will 
be  so  in  due  time.  He  imagines  that  the  further  the 
planets  are  from  the  sun  the  more  the  inhabitants  excel 
in  liveliness  and  distinctness  of  thought.  Indulging  in 
fancy,  he  asks,  Does  sin  exist  in  those  worlds  ?  and 
suggests  that  perhaps  the  beings  in  the  inferior  planets 
may  be  too  low  to  be  responsible ;  those  in  the  supe 
rior  planets  too  wise  and  too  elevated  to  fall  into  sin, 
with  the  exception,  perhaps,  of  Mars.  Perhaps,  he 
adds,  some  of  these  bodies  are  being  prepared  for  our 
future  habitation  :  who  knows  whether  the  satellites 
which  revolve  round  Jupiter  are  destined  one  day  to 
illumine  us  ?  "  No  one,  however,  will  base  his  hopes 
of  the  future  on  such  uncertain  fancies.  When  cor 
ruption  has  claimed  its  part  in  human  nature,  then 
shall  the  immortal  spirit  swiftly  soar  above  all  that  is 
finite,  and  continue  its  existence  in  a  new  relation  to 
the  whole  of  nature  arising  from  its  nearer  relation 
to  the  Supreme  Being.  When  we  gaze  on  the  starry 
heavens  with  our  mind  filled  witli  such  thoughts  as 
have  here  been  expressed,  while  all  nature  is  at  rest 
and  our  senses  also  in  repose,  the  hidden  faculties  of 

1  This    suggestion   also  has  been  lately  developed  in  a  popular 
manner,  as  a  novelty. 


the  immortal  soul  speak  in  a  language  unutterable, 
and  give  us  conceptions  which  can  be  felt  but  not 
described.  If  there  are  on  this  planet  thinking  beings 
so  base  as  to  bind  themselves  to  the  service  of  corrup 
tion,  in  spite  of  all  that  draws  them  away  from  it,  how 
unhappy  is  this  globe  to  produce  such  miserable  crea 
tures  !  but  how  happy,  on  the  other  hand,  that  under 
conditions  worthy  of  all  acceptation  a  way  is  opened 
to  them  to  attain  to  a  happiness  and  a  dignity  in 
finitely  beyond  all  the  advantages  which  the  most 
favourable  arrangements- of  nature  can  reach  in  all 
the  bodies  of  the  universe !  " 

The  reader  who  is  interested  in  Kant  himself  will 
readily  pardon  this  long  notice  of  a  work  to  which  he 
attached  some  importance.  At  its  first  publication  it 
was  dedicated  to  the  king,  Frederick  the  Great ;  and 
the  theory  developed  in  it  is  frequently  referred  to  by 
Kant  in  his  subsequent  writings,1  for  he  never  ceased 
to  take  an  interest  in  these  subjects.  So  late  as  1785 
he  wrote  an  essay  on  the  volcanoes  in  the  moon,  with 
reference  to  an  observation  by  Herschel.  In  this  Paper 
he  suggests  a  mode  of  accounting  for  the  great  heat  of 
the  sun,  and  (originally)  of  the  planets.  His  sugges 
tion  is  based  on  the  discovery  of  Crawford,  that  heat 
is  developed  by  condensation.  On  the  hypothesis  then 
that  the  sun  and  planets  were  formed  by  the  condensa 
tion  of  matter  originally  diffused  through  the  whole 

1  In  1763  he  repeated  the  substance  of  it  in  the  treatise,  Der  einzig 
mogliche  Beweisgrund  zu  einer  Demonstration  des  Daseyns  Gottes.  He 
there  mentions  that  the  former  work  was  comparatively  little  known, 
as  it  had  been  published  anonymously.  In  1791  he  caused  an  extract 
from  it  (containing  what  he  thought  worth  preserving)  to  be  appended  to 
Sommer's  translation  of  Herschel :  "  On  the  Structure  of  the  Heavens." 


space,  this  heat  would  be  a  direct  consequence  of  the 
condensation.  Still  later,  in  1794,  writing  on  the  in 
fluence  of  the  moon  on  the  weather,  he  throws  out  the 
suggestion  that  the  moon's  centre  of  gravity  may  (for 
reasons  which  he  gives)  lie  beyond  its  centre  of  figure1 : 
a  consequence  of  which  would  be  that  any  air  and  water 
which  might  be  upon  its  surface  would  be  collected  at 
the  side  remote  from  us. 

I n  another  instance,  both  Kant  and  Laplace  might 
have  had  reason  to  say,  "  Pereant  quiante  nos  nostra 
dixerunt."  In  1756  Kant  wrote  a  short  Paper  on  the 
theory  of  the  wihds,  in  which,  for  the  first  time,  as 
he  believed,  he  gave  the  true  account  of  the  trade 
winds  and  monsoons.  Halley  had  shown  that  the 
effect  of  the  sun  in  heating  the  atmosphere  at  the 
equator  would  be  to  cause  an  indraught  towards  the 
equator  from  north  and  south.  This  indraught, 
according  1;o  him,  naturally  followed  the  daily  course 
of  the  sun,  and  hence  the  easting.2  Kant  showed  that 
this  theory  was  untenable.  In  fact,  the  wind  would 
tend  rather  to  meet  the  sun,  the  region  to  the  west 
being  the  cooler.  Nor  could  a  wind  from  such  a  cause 
extend  with  nearly  equal  force  all  round  the  earth. 
Kant  showed  further  that,  owing  to  the  difference  in 
the  velocity  of  rotation  between  the  parts  near  the 
equator  and  those  near  the  poles,  all  winds  that  move 
from  the  poles  towards  the  equator  tend  to  become 
more  and  more  easterly,  and  those  that  move  from 
the  equator  towards  the  poles  become  more  and  more 

1  This  conjecture  also  has  been  confirmed. 

2  Phil.  Trans.,  vol.  xvi.     A  short  time  previously  one  Dr.  Lister 
propounded  the  singular  theory  that  the  trade  winds  were  caused  by 
the  breath  of  the  marine  plant  Sargasso.     (Ibid.,  vol.  xiv.) 


westerly.1  Hence,  in  the  northern  hemisphere  every 
north  wind  tends  to  become  a  north-east,  and  every 
south  wind  a  south-west  wind.  In  the  southern  hemi 
sphere,  on  the  contrary,  south  winds  tend  to  become 
south-east,  and  north  winds  north-west.  He  follows 
out  in  some  detail  the  general  principles  of  this  circu 
lation  of  the  atmosphere.  We  can  thus  explain,  for 
instance,  the  monsoons  of  the  Indian  Ocean,  &c.,  which 
blow  from  April  to  September  from  the  south-west ; 
for  when  the  sun  is  north  of  the  equator,  the  wind 
blows  from  the  equator  towards  these  parts,  and 
therefore  takes  a  south-westerly  direction.-  Again,  the 
current  from  the  poles  towards  the  equator  is  balanced 
by  a  counter-current,  the  heated  air  in  the  upper 
strata  at  the  equator  overflowing  as  it  were  towards 
the  poles.  When  this  descends,  or  overcomes  the 
weaker  motion  of  the  lower  strata,  it  becomes  in  the 
northern  hemisphere  a  westerly  wind,  such  as  prevail 
between  the  28th  and  40th  degrees  of  latitude.  Kant 
subsequently  introduced  this  theory  into  his  course 
of  lectures  on  Physical  Geography,  which  was  very 
numerously  attended.  Laplace  propounded  the  same 
theory  forty  year's  later. 

1  Kant  himself  says  that,  as  far  as  he  knew,  no  previous  writer 
had  stated  this  principle,  and  he  was  well  read  in  such  subjects  at 
that  time.  It  had,  however,  been  stated  by  Geo.  Hadley  (not  "  Sex 
tant"  Hadley)  in  1735  (Phil.  Trans.,  vol.  xxxix.,  pub.  1738).  But 
Hadley' s  paper  attracted  no  attention  ;  and  D'Alembert,  in  his  Reflec 
tions  on  the  Causes  of  the  Winds  (1747),  which  obtained  the  prize 
offered  by  the  Berlin  Academy,  rejects  the  heat  of  the  sun  as  a  cause, 
and  makes  all  the  phenomena  depend  on  the  attraction  of  the  sun  and 
moon.  In  the  French  Encyclopedic  (1765,  nine  years  after  Kant's 
Paper,  thirty  after  Hadley's),  this  is  combined  with  Hadley's  theory  ; 
and  it  is  suggested  further  that  the  monsoons  may  be  due  to  the 
melting  of  snow,  the  exhalations  from  mountains,  &c. 


In  1763,  Kant  published  his  Essay  On  the  only 
possible  Demonstrative  Proof  of  the  Existence  of  God. 
The  proof  developed  in  this  Essay  is  founded  on  the 
principle  that  every  possibility  of  existence  presupposes 
an  actually  existing  thing  on  which  it  depends.  This 
he  characterizes  as  a  more  thoroughly  a  priori  argu 
ment  than  any  other  that  has  been  proposed,  since  it 
does  not  assume  any  actual  fact  of  existence.  I  need 
not  explain  how  he  develops  step  by  step  the  attri 
butes  of  Unity,  Intelligence,  &c.  At  a  later  period 
he  himself  abandoned  this  line  of  argument.  How 
ever,  the  greater  part  of  the  Essay  is  occupied  with 
remarks  on  design  in  the  constitution  of  nature,  and 
with  an  exposition  of  the  theory  developed  in  the 
above-mentioned  treatise  on  the  structure  of  the  hea 
vens.  We  may,  he  observes,  argue  from  design,  either 
as  exhibited  in  a  contingent  arrangement,  for  example, 
in  the  body  of  an  animal  or  in  a  plant ;  or  we  may 
argue  from  the  necessary  results  of  the  constitution  of 
matter,  the  laws  of  motion,  &c.  The  latter  method 
has  the  great  advantage  of  presenting  the  First  Cause 
not  merely  as  an  architect,  but  as  a  creator.  From 
this  point  of  view  he  instances  first  the  simplicity  and 
harmony  resulting  from  the  geometrical  conditions  of 
space,  e.g.  that  if  we  seek  all  the  paths  which  a  falling 
body  would  traverse  either  to  or  from  the  same  point 
in  the  same  time,  they  are  found  to  be  chords  of  the 
same  circle.  Again,  he  takes  the  manifold  and  har 
monious  benefits  resulting  by  necessary  laws  from  the 
mere  fact  of  the  existence  of  an  atmosphere.  There 
may  be  many  reasons  for  its  existence :  if  we  suppose 
its  primary  purpose  to  be  that  it  should  serve  for 
respiration,  we  find  that  its  existence  leads  to  other 


important  beneficial  results.  It  makes  clouds  possible 
which  intercept  excessive  heat,  prevents  too  rapid  cool 
ing  and  drying,  and  keeps  the  land  supplied  with  the 
necessary  moisture  from  the  great  reservoir  of  the  sea. 
By  causing  twilight  it  prevents  the  strain  on  the  eyes 
which  would  be  caused  by  the  sudden  change  from  day 
to  night.  Its  existence  prevents  rain  from  dropping 
with  too  great  force,  and  its  pressure  makes  sucking 
possible.  If  it  occurs  to  anyone  to  say — Oh,  these  are 
all  the  necessary  results  of  the  nature  of  matter,  &c., 
he  answers  :  Yes,  it  is  just  this  that  shows  that  they 
proceed  from  a  wise  Creator.  He  treats  of  the  laws 
of  motion  from  the  same  point  of  view,  and  then  takes 
occasion  to  show  how  the  laws  of  the  planetary  motions 
result  from  the  simplest  laws  of  matter,  attraction  and 

In  conclusion,  he  remarks  that  while  it  is  of  the 
greatest  consequence  to  be  convinced  of  the  existence 
of  God,  it  is  by  no  means  necessary  to  have  a  demon 
stration  of  it,  and  those  who  cannot  grasp  the  demon 
strative  proof  are  advised  to  hold  fast  by  the  more 
easily  apprehended  proof  from  design.  Hardly,  in 
deed,  he  observes,  would  anyone  stake  his  whole 
happiness  on  the  correctness  of  a  metaphysical  proof, 
especially  if  it  were  opposed  to  the  convictions  of 
sense.  The  argument  from  design  is  more  striking 
and  vivid,  as  well  as  easy  to  the  common  understand 
ing,  and  more  natural  than  any  other.  It  also  gives 
an  idea  of  the  wisdom  and  providence,  &c.,  of  God, 
which  comes  home  and  has  the  greatest  effect  in  pro 
ducing  awe  and  humility  ;  and  it  is  in  fine  more  prac 
tical  than  any  other,  even  in  the  view  of  a  philosopher. 
It  does  not,  indeed,  give  a  definite  abstract  idea  of 


Divinity,  nor  does  it  claim  mathematical  certainty  ; 
but  so  many  proofs,  each  of  great  force,  take  posses 
sion  of  the  soul,  and  the  speculation  may  calmly 
follow  since  conviction  has  preceded — a  conviction 
far  above  the  force  of  any  subtile  objections. 

In  the   same  year  in   which  Kant  published  his 
Theory  of  the  Heavens,  he  issued  his  first  metaphysical 
treatise,  Principiorum  Primorum  Cognitionis  Metaphysicce 
Nova    Dilucidatio,    and    publicly    defended    it    as    an 
exercise  prior  to  his  obtaining  permission  to  deliver 
lectures  in  the  University  as  a  "  Privat-Docent."     He 
forthwith  commenced  lecturing  on  mathematics  and 
physics  ;    to    these    subjects    he    afterwards    added 
lectures    on    philosophy,    natural   theology,    physical 
geography,  anthropology,  and  fortification.     He  had 
already  so  great  a  reputation,  that  at  his  first  lecture 
the  room  (in  his  own   house)  was  filled  literally  to 
overflowing,  the  students  crowding  even  on  the  stairs. 
His   lectures   are    thus   described  by  the  celebrated 
Herder,  who  attended  them  in  the  years  1762—1764  : 
"  I  have  had  the  good  fortune  to  know  a  philosopher 
who  was  my  teacher ;  he  had  the  happy  sprightliness 
of  a  youth,  and  this  I  believe  he  retains  even  in  old 
age.       His  open,   thoughtful   brow  was  the  seat   of 
unruffled  calmness  and  joy  ;  discourse  full  of  thought 
flowed  from  his  lips;  jest  and  wit  and  humour  were 
at  his  command  ;   and  his  lecture  was  the  most  enter 
taining   conversation.      With   the    same  genius  with 
which  he  criticized   Leibnitz,  Wolf,   Crusius,   Hume, 
and  expounded  the  laws  of  Newton  and  Kepler,  he 
would  also  take  up  the  writings  of  Rousseau,  or  any 
recent  discover}'  in  nature,  give  his  estimate  of  them, 
and  come  back  again  to  the  knowledge  of  nature  and 


to  the  moral  worth  of  man.  Natural  history,  natural 
philosophy,  the  history  of  nations  and  human  nature, 
mathematics,  and  experience — these  were  the  sources 
from  which  he  enlivened  his  lecture  and  his  conversa 
tion.  Nothing  worth  knowing  was  indifferent  to  him  ; 
no  party,  no  sect,  no  desire  of  fame  or  profit  had  the 
smallest  charm  for  him  compared  with  the  advance 
ment  and  elucidation  of  the  truth.  He  encouraged 
and  urged  to  independent  thought,  and  was  far  from 
wishing  to  dominate.  This  man,  whom  I  name  with 
the  greatest  gratitude  and  reverence,  is  Immanuel 
Kant ;  his  image  stands  pleasantly  before  me."  His 
lectures  attracted  many  hearers  of  mature  age,  and 
visitors  to  Konigsberg  even  prolonged  their  stay  .for 
the  purpose  of  attending  them.  At  the  same  time 
he  continued  to  act  as  tutor  to  young  men  specially 
entrusted  to  his  care,  who  lived  with  him. 

He  had  to  wait  fifteen  years  in  the  position  of 
"  Privat-Docent  "  before  obtaining  a  professorship. 
He  had,  indeed,  been  offered  a  professorship  by  the 
Government  before  this ;  but  it  was  almost  the  only 
chair  which  he  felt  he  could  not  worthily  fill — the 
Chair  of  Poetry.  This  involved  not  only  the  censor 
ship  of  new  poems,  but  the  composition  of  poems  for 
academic  celebrations,  and  Kant  declined  the  office. 
In  the  following  year  he  was  appointed  sub-librarian 
at  the  modest  salary  of  62  thalers.  This  was  his  first 
official  appointment  (cet.  42).  Four  years  later  he 
was  nominated  to  the  professorship  of  Logic  and 
Metaphysics,1  with  an  income  (from  all  sources)  of 

1  Not  of   Mathematics,   as   is   sometimes   stated.     The  Chair   of 
Mathematics  was  offered  to  Kant ;  but  Buck,  the  professor  of  Logic 

xxxii  MEMOIR    OF   KANT. 

400  thalers.  This  was  ultimately  increased  to  620. 
This  was  of  course  exclusive  of  fees  from  students. 
He  inaugurated  his  professorship  by  defending  his 
essay,  De  mundi  sensibilis  atque  intelligibilis  forma  et 
principles.  In  this  he  distinguishes  the  sensible  ap 
prehension  of  phenomena  from  the  Concept  of  the 
Understanding,  just  as  in  the  Critique  of  Pure  Reason. 
He  shows,  precisely  as  in  the  latter  work,  that  space 
and  time  are  forms  of  the  intuitions  of  sense. 

As  professor,  he  continued  to  lecture  in  the  same 
wide  circle  of  subjects  as  before.  The  lectures  on 
physical  geography  and  anthropology  were  especially 
popular.  He  was  fond  of  studying  nature,  but  espe 
cially  human  nature  in  all  its  phases,  and  took  great 
pleasure  in  reading  books  of  travel,  although  he  never 
travelled.  Having  an  excellent  memory  and  a  lively 
power  of  imagination,  he  could  distinctly  picture  to 
himself,  even  in  minute  detail,  the  several  objects 
described.  On  one  occasion  he  described  Westminster 
Bridge,  its  form,  dimensions,  &c.,  with  such  detail 
and  distinctness,  that  an  Englishman  who  was  present 
thought  he  was  an  architect,  and  had  spent  some 
years  in  London.  At  another  time  he  spoke  of  Italy 
as  if  he  had  known  it  from  long  personal  acquaint 
ance.  So  popular  were  his  lectures,  that  we  find  Von 
Zedlitz,  the  Prussian  Minister,  writing  from  Berlin  to 
say  that  he  is  reading  with  pleasure  an  imperfect 
manuscript  report  of  the  lectures  on  Physical  Geo 
graphy,  and  requesting  Kant  to  favour  him  with  a 

and  Metaphysics,  desired  it,  and  Kant  himself  preferred  the  latter 
chair.  Buck,  therefore,  became  professor  of  Mathematics,  and  Kant 
took  his  place. 

MEMOIR   OF   KANT.  XXxiii 

correct  copy.     These  lectures  were  published  in  1802. 
The  lectures  on  Anthropology  had  appeared  in  1798. 
Both  works  are  written  in  an  extremely  interesting 
and   popular  style  ;    and  those  on  Anthropology  are 
full  of  entertaining  remarks  and  illustrative  anecdotes, 
not  without  humour.    Thus,  speaking  of  the  emotions 
that   nature    employs    for    the   promotion  of  health, 
which  are  chiefly  laughing  and  weeping,  he  remarks 
that  anger  also  conduces  to  health,  if  one  can  indulge 
in  a  good  scolding  without  fear  of  opposition  ;  and, 
in  fact,  many  a  housewife  gets  no  hearty  exercise, 
except   in   scolding   her    children  and  servants :  and 
provided  these  take  it  patiently,  a  pleasant  feeling  of 
fatigue  spreads  itself  through  the  organism.     This  sort 
of  exercise,  however,  he  adds,  is  not  without  danger, 
as  the  object   of    the    scolding   may  possibly   resist. 
Even  when  lecturing  on  Metaphysics,  Kant  is  said  to 
have  been  lucid  and  interesting.     When  the  difficulty 
of  his  writings  was  complained  of,  he  used  to  say  that 
he  wrote  for  thinkers  by  profession,  and  with  these 
technical  expressions  had  the  advantage  of  brevity. 
Besides,  said  he,  it  flatters  the  vanity  of  the  reader  to 
find  perplexities  and  obscurities  here  and  there,  which 
he  can  solve  by  his  own  acuteness.  But  in  his  lectures 
he    endeavoured  to    be    clear    and    intelligible.     He 
sought,  as  he  expressed  it,  to  teach  "not  philosophy, 
but  to  philosophize. "    In  one  of  his  letters  he  states  that 
he  was  unceasingly  observant  of  phenomena  and  their 
laws,  even  in  common   life,  so  that,  from  first  to  last, 
his  hearers  should  not  have  to  listen  to  a  dry  exposi 
tion,  but  be  interested  by  being  led  to  compare  his 
remarks  with  their  own  observations. 

It  was  his  custom  to  keep  his  eyes  fixed  on  some 

XX.xiv  MEMOIR   OF   KANT. 

particular  student  sitting  near  him,  perhaps  in  order 
to  judge  from  the  hearer's  countenance  whether  he 
was  making  himself  understood.  So  Arago,  in  his 
popular  lectures,  used  to  select  for  the  same  purpose 
the  most  stupid-looking  person  in  the  audience,  con 
tinuing  his  explanations  until  the  person  "  fixed " 
showed  signs  of  intelligence.  With  Kant,  however, 
the  consequences  were  disastrous  if  the  student  hap 
pened  to  have  any  peculiarity  or  defect,  either  in 
person  or  dress.  One  day  the  student  thus  selected 
happened  to  have  lost  a  button  from  his  coat.  Kant's 
glance  recurred  to  the  vacant  spot,  and  during  the 
whole  lecture  his  thoughts  were  distracted,  and  even 
confused,  in  a  manner  inexplicable  to  those  who  were 
not  in  the  secret. 

He  did  not  like  to  see  his  hearers  taking  notes ; 
but  would  say,  "  Put  up  your  pencils,  gentlemen." 
and  would  not  begin  until  they  had  done  so.  The 
reason  of  this  was  that  he  thought  such  attempts  at 
reporting  interfered  with  their  attention  to  the  matter 
of  the  lecture,  by  fixing  it  on  the  words.  Some  of  his 
hearers  took  full  notes,  nevertheless. 

In  1772  he  formed  the  design  of  writing  a  Critical 
Examination  of  Pure  Reason,  Theoretical  and  Prac 
tical,  the  former  part  of  which  he  hoped  to  complete 
in  three  months.  The  months  grew  to  years.  Six 
years  later  he  writes  that  he  expects  it  to  appear 
u  this  summer,"  and  that  it  would  not  be  a  large 
volume.  It  did  not  see  the  light,  however,  until 
1781,  nine  years  after  he  had  announced  that  it 
would  be  ready  in  three  months.  When  this  master- 
work  was  produced,  Kant  was  fifty-seven  years  of 
a^re.  He  states  himself  that  it  was  Hume  that  roused 


him  from  his  dogmatic  slumber,  and  compelled  him 
to  seek  a  solid  barrier  against  scepticism.1 

It  is  stated  on  Kant's  own  authority  that  he  did 
not  commit  to  writing  a  single  sentence  in  this  work 
on  which  he  had  not  first  asked  the  judgment  of  his 
friend  Green.  A  man  to  whom  Kant  showed  such 
deference  deserves  a  brief  notice.  He  was  an  English 
merchant,  and  during  the  American  War  of  Indepen 
dence  happened  to  be  present  when  Kant,  who  sym 
pathized  with  the  Americans,  denounced  the  conduct 
of  England  in  strong  terms.  Green  sprang  up  in  a 
rage,  declared  that  Kant's  words  were  a  personal 
insult  to  him  as  an  Englishman,  and  demanded  satis 
faction.  Kant  replied  so  calmly  and  persuasively  that 
Green  shook  hands  with  him,  and  they  became  fast 
friends,  and  continued  so  until  the  death  of  Green  in 
1784 — a  loss  which  Kant  deeply  felt. 

Of  the  Critique  of  Pure  Reason  I  need  not  here 
speak.  Suffice  it  to  say,  that  as  Locke's  attempt  to 
keep  the  mind  from  "going  beyond  its  tether"  was 
followed  at  no  long  interval  by  the  Idealism  of 
Berkeley,  and  the  annihilating  Scepticism  of  Hume, 
so  Kant's  analogous  attempt  led  in  a  still  shorter  space 
to  the  most  complete  idealism  and  transcendentalism. 
Indeed,  his  reviewers  not  unnaturally  mistook  him  for 
an  idealist,  and  Hamann  called  him  the  Prussian  Hume. 

1  It  may  perhaps  be  interesting  to  note  that  both  Berkeley  and 
Hume  produced  their  greatest  philosophical  works  before  the  age  of 
thirty.  Fichte  wrote  his  "  "Wissenschaftslehre  "  at  thirty-three.  On 
the  other  hand,  Locke  and  Reid,  whose  object  was,  like  Kant's,  to 
raise  a  barrier  against  scepticism,  and  to  ascertain  the  extent  and 
limits  of  the  powers  of  the  mind,  both  published  their  first  philo 
sophical  treatises  after  fifty. 

c  2 


Tlie  work  excited  a  lively  controversy  in  the  philoso 
phical  world,  hut  most  of  the  publications  to  which  it 
gave  rise  have  been  long  forgotten.  Kant's  fame,  how 
ever,  rose  to  the  highest,  and  Konigsberg  became  a 
shrine  to  which  students  and  tourists  made  pilgrimages. 
The  Critique  of  Pure  Reason  was  to  be  followed 
by  the  Metaphysical  Elements  of  Natural  Philosophy 
and  of  Moral  Philosophy.  The  former  appeared  in 
1786,  under  the  title  MetaphysiscJie  Anfangsyriindc  dcr 
Naturwissenschaft.1  The  views  respecting  motion  with 
which  this  treatise  commences  had,  however,  already 
been  published  as  a  programme  of  lectures  in  1758. 
Motion  is  only  relative  to  the  surrounding  space. 
While  I  sit  with  a  ball  on  the  table  before  me  in  the 
cabin  of  a  ship  moored  in  a  river,  I  say  that  the  ball 
is  at  rest ;  I  look  out  and  see  that  the  ship  has  been 
unmoored,  and  is  drifting  westward ;  the  ball  then  is 
moving  westward.  But  I  reflect  that  the  earth  is  rotat 
ing  with  greater  velocity  eastward  ;  the  ball  then  is 
moving  eastward.  Nay ;  for  the  earth  in  its  orbit  is  mov 
ing  westward  with  still  higher  speed.  The  orbit  itself 
is  moving,  I  cannot  tell  how  rapidly,  nor  do  I  know  in 
what  direction.  In  any  case  then  it  is  the  same  thing 
whether  I  regard  a  point  as  moving  in  its  space,  or 
regard  the  space  as  moving  and  the  point  as  at  rest. 
Hence  the  law  of  the  composition  of  motion  results 
directly  ;  for  if  A  be  a  point  having  a  motion  of  one 
foot  per  second  westward,  and  two  feet  per  second 
southward,  I  can  regard  it  as  having  only  the  south 
ward  motion,  while  the  space  in  which  it  is,  is  moving 
one  foot  per  second  eastward.  At  the  end,  therefore, 

1  Translated  by  Mr.  Bax,  in  Eohn's  Library,  1883. 


of  one  second,  the  point  will  be  found  two  feet  to  the 
south ;  and  as  its  space  in  moving  east  has  left  it  one 
foot  behind,  it  will  also  be  one  foot  west,  relatively  to 
its  surrounding  space.  This  is  the  same  as  if  it  had 
moved  in  the  diagonal  of  the  parallelogram.  Kant 
claimed  as  an  advantage  of  this  proof,  that  it  repre 
sented  the  resultant  motion,  not  as  an  effect  of  the  two 
motions,  but  as  actually  including  them.  It  is  in 
comparably  simpler  and  more  philosophical  than  the 
proof  given  by  D'Alembert  and  other  contemporary 
mathematicians.  When  we  treat  of  collision  of  bodies, 
this  mode  of  viewing  the  matter  becomes  absolutely 
indispensable.  If  the  body  A  is  approaching  the 
body  B  (equal  to  it)  with  a  velocity  of  two  degrees, 
we  regard  A  as  moving  with  a  speed  of  one  degree, 
while  B  and  its  space  move  one  degree  in  the  opposite 
direction.  The  motions  being  equal  and  opposite,  the 
result  of  their  contact  is  mutual  rest ;  but,  as  the  space 
is  moving,  this  rest  is  equivalent  to  a  motion  of  the  two 
bodies  in  contact,  relative  to  the  surrounding  space, 
and  in  amount  one  degree.  If  the  bodies  are  unequal 
and  have  unequal  velocities,  we  have  only  to  divide 
the  velocities  in  the  inverse  proportion  of  the  masses, 
and  assign  to  the  space  the  motion  which  we  take  from 
one  to  add  to  the  other,  and  the  result  will  again  be 
mutual  rest,  which  is  equivalent  to  a  motion  of  the 
bodies  in  contact,  with  a  velocity  equal  and  opposite 
to  what  we  have  assigned  to  the  space.  We  can  in 
this  way  banish  altogether  the  notion  of  vis  inert-ice. 

Matter  could  not  exist  unless  there  were  both  a 
repulsive  force  and  an  attractive  force.  If  attraction 
only  existed,  matter  would  be  condensed  into  a  point; 

XXXvill  MEMOIR   OF    KANT. 

if  repulsion  only,  it  would  be  dispersed  infinitely. 
The  relative  incompressibility  of  matter  is  nothing 
but  the  repulsive  force  emanating  from  points,  which 
increases  as  the  distance  diminishes  (perhaps  inversely 
as  the  cube),  and  would  therefore  require  an  infinite 
pressure  to  overcome  it  altogether.  Physical  contact 
is  the  immediate  action  and  reaction  of  incompressi 
bility.  The  action  of  matter  on  matter  without  con 
tact  is  what  is  called  actio  in  distans,  and  the  attraction 
of  gravitation  is  of  this  kind.  Both  attraction  and 
repulsion  being  elementary  forces,  are  inexplicable ; 
but  the  force  of  attraction  is  not  a  whit  more  incom 
prehensible  than  the  original  repulsive  force.  In 
compressibility  appears  more  comprehensible,  solely 
because  it  is  immediately  presented  to  the  senses, 
whereas  attraction  is  only  inferred.  It  seems  at  first 
sight  a  contradiction  to  say  that  a  body  can  act  where 
it  is  not ;  but  in  fact  we  might  rather  say,  that  every 
thing  in  space  acts  where  it  is  not ;  for  to  act  where  it 
is,  it  should  occupy  the  very  same  space  as  the  thing 
acted  on.  To  say  that  there  can  be  no  action  without 
physical  contact  is  as  much  as  to  say  that  matter  can 
act  only  by  the  force  of  incompressibility :  in  other 
words,  that  repulsive  forces  are  either  the  only  forces 
of  matter  or  the  conditions  of  all  its  action,  which  is 
a  groundless  assertion.  The  ground  of  the  mistake 
is  a  confusion  between  mathematical  contact  and 
physical  contact.  That  bodies  attract  one  another 
without  contact,  means  that  they  approach  one  an 
other  according  to  a  certain  law,  without  any  force 
of  repulsion  being  required  as  a  condition ;  and  this 
is  just  as  conceivable  as  that  they  should  separate 


from  one  another  without  an  attractive  force  being 
supposed  as  a  condition.1 

Kant,  however,  thought  it  conceivable  that  in  the 
case  of  chemical  solution  there  might  be  complete 
interpenetration  or  "  intussusception."  On  this  view 
of  matter  we  may,  he  remarks,  regard  matter  as 
infinitely  divisible. 

The  Fundamental  Principles  of  the  Metaphysic  of 
Morals  had  appeared  the  year  before  the  last-men 
tioned  work,  and  was  followed  in  1788  by  the  Critical 
Examination  of  Practical  Reason.  Both  these  are  trans 
lated  in  the  present  volume.  The  few  remarks  I 
have  to  offer  on  them  will  be  found  at  the  end  of 
the  Memoir,  In  1790  was  published  the  Critical 
Examination  of  the  Faculty  of  Judgment. 

The  essay  on  the  corruption  of  human  nature, 
which  forms  the  third  part  of  this  volume,  appeared 
in  1792  in  a  Berlin  magazine.  Four  years  before 
this  an  edict  had  been  issued,  limiting  the  freedom 
of  the  Press,  and  appointing  special  censors,  whose 

1  Before  reading  this  work  of  Kant's  I  had  made  a  remark  to  the 
same  effect  in  Sight  and  Touch,  p.  76,  with  reference  to  the  state 
ment  of  Hamilton  and  others,  that  Sight  is  a  modification  of  Touch. 
"  Contact  is  usually  understood  to  mean  the  approach  of  two  bodies, 
so  that  no  space  intervenes  between  them ;  but  in  this  sense  there  is 
probably  no  such  thing  as  contact  in  nature.  Physically  speaking, 
bodies  in  contact  are  only  at  such  a  distance  that  there  is  a  sensible 
resistance  to  nearer  approach.  Sensation  by  contact,  then,  is  sensation 
by  resistance  ;  to  say,  then,  that  sight  is  a  modification  of  touch  is  to 
say  that  the  antecedent  of  vision  is  the  exercise  or  feeling  of  the  same 
repulsive  force,  which  is  a  physical  hypothesis,  and,  considered  as 
such,  is  in  fact  absurd.  Between  ponderable  substances  and  light, 
contact,  in  the  sense  just  specified,  is  either  impossible  or  is  the 
normal  condition." 

\1  MEMOIR   OF   KANT. 

buwiness  was  to  examine  as  to  the  orthodoxy,  not  only 
of  books,  but  of  professors,  lecturers,  and  theological 
candidates.  The  magazine  in  question  was  printed 
in  Jena ;  but,  in  order  to  avoid  any  appearance  of 
underhand  dealing,  Kant  expressly  desired  that  his 
essay  should  be  submitted  to  the  Berlin  licensing 
authority,  who  gave  his  imprimatur,  on  the  ground 
that  only  deep  thinkers  read  Kant's  works.  The 
second  part  of  the  work  on  the  Theory  of  Religion 
was  referred  to  the  theological  censor,  who  refused  his 
imprimatur.  Kant  accordingly  submitted  his  essay  to 
the  censorship  of  the  theological  faculty  of  Konigs- 
berg,  and  this  unanimously  sanctioned  the  publica 
tion,  which  reached  a  second  edition  in  the  following 
year.  The  Berlin  censors  were  naturally  annoyed  at 
this  way  of  escaping  their  decision,  and  the  severe 
remarks  in  the  preface  did  not  tend  to  conciliate  them. 
A  few  months  afterwards  Kant  received  an  order 
from  the  king  (Frederick  William  II),  forbidding 
him  to  teach  or  write  anything  further  in  this  man 
ner.  Kant  did  not  mention  the  order  even  to  his 
intimate  friends.  A  slip  of  paper,  found  after  his 
death,  contained  this  reflection :  "  To  deny  one's 
inner  conviction  is  mean,  but  in  such  a  case  as  this 
silence  is  the  duty  of  a  subject;  and,  although  a  man 
must  say  only  what  is  true,  it  is  not  always  a  duty  to 
say  all  the  truth  publicly."  He  therefore,  in  his  reply 
to  the  king,  declared  that  to  avoid  all  suspicion 
he,  "as  his  Majesty's  most  loyal  subject,"  solemnly 
engaged  to  refrain  from  writing  or  lecturing  on 
religion,  natural  or  revealed.  The  words,  "as  your 
Majesty's  most  loyal  subject,"  were  inserted  with  the 
intention  of  limiting  his  engagement  to  the  life  of 

MEMOIR   OF   KANT.  xli 

the  king,  and  on  the  death  of  Frederick  William  in 
1797,  Kant  regarded  hhnself  as  free,  and  published 
his  Contest  of  the  Faculties  (i.e.  of  the  Academical 

In  1797  Kant  ceased  to  lecture  publicly.  In  the 
same  year  he  published  his  Metaphysical  Elements  of 
Morals,  which  treats  of  the  several  virtues  and  vices 
in  detail,1  and  Metaphysical  Elements  of  Law.  After  the 
publication  of  these,  he  seems  to  have  been  regarded 
as  a  counsellor  to  be  consulted  in  all  difficulties,  and 
an  authority  in  all  questions  of  conscience.  The  pains 
he  took  to  give  real  assistance  in  such  cases,  both  by 
his  own  reflection,  and  by  inquiring  from  his  col 
leagues,  are  attested  by  his  written  and  often  cor 
rected  memoranda.  As  an  example  may  be  mentioned 
the  question  whether  inoculation  was  morally  allow 
able  or  not.  This  question  was  addressed  to  him  at 
the  same  time  by  a  Professor  of  Medicine  in  Halle, 
and  by  a  young  nobleman  who  was  going  to  be 
married,  and  whose  bride  wished  to  be  inoculated. 
Kant's  reply  is  not  known,  although  some  memoranda 
for  it  exist. 

After  this  time  he  began  to  feel  the  burden  of  age ; 
and  his  powers,  mental  and  bodily,  gradually  failed. 
He  was  quite  aware  of  his  condition,  and  resigned. 
"  Gentlemen,"  said  he  one  day,  "  I  do  not  fear  to  die. 
I  assure  you,  as  in  the  presence  of  God,  that  if  on  this 
very  night,  suddenly,  the  summons  to  death  were  to 
reach  me,  I  should  bear  it  with  calmness,  should  raise 
my  hands  to  heaven,  and  say,  '  Blessed  be  God  I ' 
Were  it  indeed  possible  that  such  a  whisper  as  this 

1  Translated  by  Mr.  Semple.  Edinburgh,  1836;  re-issued,  1869; 
3rd  edition,  Edinburgh,  1871. 

xlii  MEMOIR   OF    KANT. 

could  reach  my  ear — '  Fourscore  years  thou  hast  lived, 
in  which  time  thou  hast  inflicted  much  evil  upon  thy 
fellow-men,'  the  case  would  be  otherwise."  This  was 
spoken,  says  Wasianski,  in  a  tone  of  earnest  sincerity. 
Two  days  after  his  seventy-ninth  birthday  he  wrote  in 
his  memoranda  :  "  According  to  the  Bible  our  life  lasts 
seventy  years,  and,  if  very  long,  fourscore  years,  and 
though  it  was  pleasant,  it  has  been  labour  and  sorrow."1 
Up  to  this  time  he  was  able  to  read  the  smallest  print 
without  spectacles,  although  he  had  lost  the  sight  of 
one  eye  nearly  twenty  years  before.  But  soon  after 
he  had  written  this  memorandum  his  sight  also  failed, 
and  he  died  in  February.  1804,  in  his  eightieth  year. 
His  body  was  so  dried  up  that  the  physicians  said 
they  had  hardly  ever  seen  so  wasted  a  body.  Indeed 
he  had  himself  said  jestingly  some  years  before,  that 
he  thought  he  had  reached  the  minimum  of  muscular 

Kant  was  of  weak  frame,  and  still  weaker  muscular 
power ;  he  was  barely  five  feet  in  height.3  His  chest 
was  flat,  almost  concave,  the  right  shoulder  slightly 
crooked,  his  complexion  fresh,  his  forehead  high, 
square,  and  broad,  while  his  piercing  blue  eyes  made 
so  lively  an  impression  that  it  was  long  remembered 
by  some  of  his  pupils.  Even  after  he  had  lost  the 
sight  of  one  eye,  the  defect  was  not  visible  to  a 
stranger.  In  consequence  of  his  contracted  chest  he 
suffered  from  a  feeling  of  oppression,  which  early  in 
life  caused  a  tendency  to  hypochondria,  to  such  an 

1  According  to  Luther's  translation. 

-  An  inti-resting  account  of  "  The  Last  Days  of  Kant,"  taken  from 
Wasianski,  may  be  found  in  De  Quincey's  works,  vol.  iii. 

3  Five  German  feet  would  be  less  than  five  feet  two  inches  English. 

MEMOIR  OF   KANT.  xliii 

extent  as  even  to  make  him  feel  weary  of  life.  This, 
however,  he  overcame  by  force  of  thought.  When 
engaged  on  the  Kritik,  in  1771,  he  speaks  of  his 
health  being  seriously  impaired,  and  some  years  later 
he  says  that  it  is  unceasingly  broken  ;  yet  by  dint  of 
careful  attention  and  great  regularity  he  was  able, 
without  medical  aid,  to  maintain  such  good  health  on 
the  whole,  that  at  a  later  period  he  used  to  say  to 
himself  on  going  to  bed,  "  Is  it  possible  to  conceive 
any  human  being  enjoying  better  health  than  I  do  ?  " 
His  maxim  for  preserving  health  was,  sustine  et  alstine. 
His  practice  illustrated  this.  The  two  indulgences  of 
which  he  was  fond  were  tobacco  and  coffee.  But  of 
the  former  he  limited  himself  to  a  single  pipe  in  the 
morning,  whilst  he  altogether  abstained  from  the  latter 
until  far  advanced  in  life,  thinking  it  injurious  to 
health.  At  the  age  of  seventy  he  wrote  an  essay, 
On  the  Power  of  the  Mind  to  Master  the  Feeling  of 
Illness  by  Force  of  Resolution.1  The  essay  was  origi 
nally  addressed  to  Hufeland,  the  celebrated  author 
of  the  treatise  on  the  Art  of  Prolonging  Life,  and  the 
principles  contained  in  it  are  exemplified  from  Kant's 
own  experience.  He  attached  great  importance  to 
the  habit  of  breathing  through  the  nostrils  instead  of 
through  the  mouth,  and  asserted  that  he  had  by  this 
means  overcome  a  tendency  to  cough  and  cold  in  the 
head.  There  is  more  truth  in  this  than  is  perhaps 
generally  thought.2  Kant,  however,  is  said  to  have 

1  Afterwards  included  in  the  "  Streit  der  Facultaten."    This  essay 
has  had  a  circulation  of  over  50,000  in  Germany,  and  a  new  edition 
has  lately  appeared. 

2  See   an   amusing   book,   by    George  Catlin,   Shut  your  Mouth. 
London,  1869. 

xliv  MEMOIR   OF   KANT. 

regarded  it  as  of  so  much  importance  that  he  did  not 
like  to  have  a  companion  in  his  daily  walk,  lest  he 
should  have  to  open  his  mouth.  The  true  reason  of 
this  preference  (in  later  life  only)  for  solitary  walks 
was,  beyond  doubt,  that  which  is  mentioned  in  this 
essay,  that  it  is  undesirable  to  exercise  the  limbs  and  the 
brain  (or  the  brain  and  the  stomach)  at  the  same  time.- 
His  punctilious  attention  to  health  is  amusingly 
illustrated  by  the  artifice  he  used  for  suspending-  his 
stockings.  \Tbinking  that  garters  injuriously  impeded 
the  circulation,  he  had  a  couple  of  bands  attached  to 
each  stocking,  and  passing  through  a  hole  in  the 
pocket  of  his  breeches.  Inside  the  pocket  they  were 
connected  with  a  spring  enclosed  in  a  box,  and  this 
spring  regulated  the  tension.  That  he  might  not  be 
without  some  exercise  in  his  study,  he  habitually  left 
his  handkerchief  at  the  other  side  of  the  room,  so  that 
now  and  then  he  should  have  to  get  up  and  walk  to  it. 
On  the  same  principle  his  hours  of  sleep,  &c.,  were 
adhered  to  with  the  utmost  regularity.  He  went  to 
bed  punctually  at  ten,  and  rose  punctually  at  five. 
His  servant  had  orders  not  to  let  him  sleep  longer  on 
any  account ;  and  on  being  asked  once  by  Kant,  in 
presence  of  guests,  testified  that  for  thirty  years  his 
master  had  never  once  indulged  beyond  the  appointed 
hour.  On  rising  he  took  a  cup  (indefinite  cups)  of 
tea,  but  no  solid  food.  The  early  hours  were  devoted 
to  preparation  for  his  lectures,  which  in  his  earlier 
years  occupied  four  or  five  hours,  but  subsequently 
only  two.  At  seven  o'clock  precisely,  or  eight,  as  the 
case  might  be,  he  entered  his  lecture-room.  Lectures 
ended,  at  nine  or  ten,  he  returned  to  his  study,  and 
applied  himself  to  preparing  his  books  for  the  press. 

MEMOIR   OF   KANT  xlv 

He  worked  thus  without  interruption  until  one  o'clock, 
the  hour  for  dinner.  This  was  his  only  meal,  and  he 
liked  to  have  pleasant  company,  and  to  prolong  the  meal 
(ducere  ccenam)  with  lively,  sometimes  brilliant  conver 
sation,  for  three  or  four  hours.  Kant  had  no  Boswell, 
and  nothing  is  preserved  of  these  conversations,  in 
which  he  is  said  to  have  often  thrown  out  profound 
and  suggestive  remarks  with  extraordinary  richness.1 
Until  his  sixty-third  year,  not  having  a  house  of  his 
own,  he  dined  at  a  public  restaurant,  which,  however, 
he  occasionally  found  it  necessary  to  change,  in  con 
sequence  of  persons  coming  for  the  purpose  of  discuss 
ing  philosophical  questions  with  him.  He  considered 
that  meal-time  ought  to  be  a  time  of  perfect  mental 
relaxation,  and  was  not  disposed  to  turn  the  dinner 
table  into  a  lecture  pulpit.  His  afternoons  were, 
however,  often  spent  at  the  houses  of  his  friends, 
where  he  enjoyed  meeting  foreign  merchants,  sea 
captains,  and  travelled  scholars,  from  whom  he  might 
learn  much  about  foreign  nations  and  countries.  His 
instructive  and  entertaining  conversation,  flavoured 
with  mild  satiric  humour,  made  him  a  welcome  guest, 
and  even  with  the  children  he  was  a  favourite.  After 
he  became  famous  he  declined  invitations  if  he  thought 
he  was  to  be  made  a  lion  of. 

1  Some  of  his  critical  biographers  thought  he  ate  too  much,  for 
getting  that  this  was  his  only  meal  in  the  twenty-four  hours.  "  It 
is  believed,"  says  De  Quincey,  "that  his  critics  ate  their  way  'from 
morn  to  dewy  eve,'  through  the  following  course  of  meals : — 
1st,  Breakfast  early  in  the  morning;  2nd,  Breakfast  a  la  fourchette, 
about  10  A.M.  ;  3rd,  Dinner  at  1  or  2  ;  4th,  Vesper  BroA;  5th  Abend 
Srod ;  all  of  which  does  seem  a  very  fair  allowance  for  a  man  who 
means  to  lecture  on  abstinence  at  night." 

xlvi  MEMOIR   OF   KANT. 

When  he  had  a  house  of  his  own,  he  had  every 
day  a  few  friends  to  dine  with  him.  He  liked  to  have 
a  mixed  company — merchants,  professional  men,  and 
especially  a  few  younger  men.  After  dinner  followed 
regularly  his  daily  walk  for  an  hour  or  more,  along 
what  was  from  him  named  "  The  Philosopher's  Walk," 
until  he  was  driven  from  it  by  the  number  of  beggars 
whom  his  habit  of  almsgiving  had  attracted  there.1 
Even  the  severest  weather  did  not  interfere  with  this 
daily  walk,  in  which  in  his  earlier  years  he  usually 
had  companions ;  after  sixty  years  of  age  he  walked 
alone,  for  the  reason  already  mentioned. 

He  had  on  one  occasion  a  narrow  escape  from 
assassination.  A  lunatic,  who  had  made  up  his  mind 
to  kill  some  one,  waylaid  Kant  for  the  purpose,  and 
followed  him  for  three  miles  5  but  on  reflection,  think 
ing  it  a  pity  to  kill  an  old  professor  who  must  have  so 
many  sins  on  his  head,  the  unfortunate  madman  killed 
a  child  instead. 

The  evening  was  devoted  to  lighter  reading  and 
meditation.  He  would  read  over  and  over  again  such 
books  as  Don  Quixote,  Hudibras,  Swift's  Tale  of  a 
Ttib,  Juvenal,  and  Horace.  In  his  later  years  he  was 
especially  fond  of  reading  books  on  physical  science, 
and  books  of  travel.  Purely  speculative  Avorks  he 
cared  little  for,  but  liked  to  read  Locke,  Hutcheson, 
Pope,  Hume,  Montaigne,  Rousseau. 

How  unwilling  Kant  was  to  depart  from  his  re 
gular  routine  appears  from  a  characteristic  anecdote. 
One  day  as  he  was  returning  from  his  walk,  a  noble- 

1  Yet  some  of  his  biographers  state  that  he  never  gave  alms  to 

MEMOIR    OF   KANT.  xlvii 

man  who  was  driving  came  up  with  him,  and  politely 
invited  him  to  take  a  drive  with  him,  as  the  evening 
was  fine.  Kant  yielded  to  the  first  impulse  of  polite 
ness,  and  consented.  The  Count,  after  driving  over 
some  of  his  property  near  the  city,  proposed  to  visit  a 
friend  some  miles  from  the  town,  and  Kant  of  course 
could  not  refuse.  At  last  Kant  was  set  down  at  his 
own  door  near  ten  o'clock,  full  of  vexation  at  this 
violation  of  his  regular  habits.  He  thereupon  made 
it  a  fixed  rule  never  to  get  into  a  carriage  that  he 
had  not  hired  himself,  so  that  he  could  manage  it  as 
he  pleased.  When  once  he  had  made  such  a  resolu 
tion,  he  was  satisfied  that  he  could  not  be  taken  by 
surprise,  and  nothing  would  make  him  depart  from  it. 

So  his  life  passed,  says  one  of  his  biographers,  like 
the  most  regular  of  regular  verbs. 

Punctual,  however,  as  he  was,  his  punctuality  did 
not  come  up  to  the  standard  of  his  friend  Green. 
One  evening  Kant  had  promised  that  he  would  ac 
company  Green  in  a  drive  the  next  morning  at  eight. 
At  a  quarter  before  eight  Green  was  walking  up  and 
down  his  room,  watch  in  hand ;  at  fifty  minutes  past 
seven  he  put  on  his  coat,  at  fifty-five  he  took  his  stick, 
and  at  the  first  stroke  of  eight  entered  his  carriage 
and  drove  off ;  and  although  he  met  Kant,  who  was  a 
couple  of  minutes  late,  he  would  not  stop  for  him, 
because  this  was  against  the  agreement  and  against 
his  rule.  This  gentleman,  for  whom  Kant  had  a  great 
esteem,  served  as  the  model  for  the  description  of  the 
English  character  in  the  Anthropoloyie.  Kant's  savings 
were  invested  with  this  Mr.  Green,  and  allowed  to 
accumulate  at  6  per  cent,  interest. 

Kant  is  said  to  have  been  on  two  occasions  on  the 

xlviii  MEMOIR    OF   KANT. 

point  of  marrying,  or  at  least  of  making  a  proposal ; 
but  he  took  so  long  to  calculate  his  incomings  and 
outgoings  with  exactness,  in  order  to  see  whether  he 
could  afford  it,  that  the  lady  in  the  first  case  was 
married,  and  in  the  second  had  left  Konigsberg  before 
he  had  made  up  his  mind.  When  he  was  seventy 
years  of  age,  an  officious  friend  actually  printed  a 
dialogue  on  marriage,  with  a  view  to  persuade  the 
philosopher  to  marry.  Kant  reimbursed  him  for  the 
expense  of  printing,  but  at  that  age,  not  unnaturally, 
thought  the  advice  rather  too  late.  How  sensible  he 
was  to  the  charms  of  female  society  appears  from  the 
Essay  On  the  Sublime  and  Beautiful,  p.  426  If.,  where 
he  discusses  the  difference  between  the  sublime  and 
beautiful  in  the  natural  relations  of  the  sexes. 

Kant's  personal  character  is  described,  by  those 
who  knew  him  best,  as  truly  child-like.  He  was  kind- 
hearted  and  actively  benevolent ;  of  rare  candour 
in  estimating  the  abilities  of  other  men,  with  high 
respect  for  everything  that  was  noble  or  deserving; 
always  disposed  to  recognize  the  good  rather  than  the 
bad  in  men's  characters.  He  was  always  ready  with 
counsel  and  assistance  for  the  young.  His  modesty 
towards  scholars  of  great  fame  almost  degenerated 
into  shyness. 

As  may  be  supposed  from  the  regularity  of  his 
habits,  he  never  allowed  himself  to  run  into  debt. 
When  a  student  at  the  University,  with  very  narrow 
means,  his  only  coat  had  once  become  so  shabby,  that 
some  friends  subscribed  a  sum  of  money,  which  was 
offered  to  him  in  the  most  delicate  manner  possible 
for  the  purchase  of  a  new  one.  Kant,  however,  pre 
ferred  to  retain  his  shabby  coat  rather  than  incur  debt 

MEMOIR   OF   KANT.  xlix 

or  lose  his  independence.1  In  his  old  age  he  boasted 
that  he  had  never  owed  any  man  a  penny,  so  that 
when  a  knock  came  to  his  door  he  was  never  afraid 
to  say,  "  Come  in."  When  his  means  had  increased 
(chiefly  through  the  profits  on  his  writings),  he  assisted 
such  of  his  relatives  as  were  in  want  in  the  most  liberal 
manner.  On  the  death  of  his  brother,  he  assigned  to 
the  widow  a  pension  of  200  thalers.  Many  poor  per 
sons  also  received  a  weekly  allowance  from  him ;  and 
Wasianski,  who  in  later  years  managed  Kant's  affairs 
for  him,  states  that  his  charitable  expenses  amounted 
to  about  400  thalers  annually. 

His  kindness  was  shown  in  his  last  will,  in  which 
he  left  an  annual  sum  to  a  servant  who  had  treated 
him  shamefully,  but  who  had  served  him  (not  indeed 
faithfully)  for  thirty  years.  Kant  had  dismissed  him 
two  years  before,  with  a  pension,  on  condition  of  his 
never  setting  foot  inside  the  house  again.  After  some 
other  small  legacies,  the  residue  was  left  to  the  chil 
dren  of  his  brother  and  sisters.  The  whole  amount 
was  under  four  thousand  pounds. 

The  principal  questions  on  the  Theory  of  Morals 
may,  with  sufficient  accuracy  for  the  present  purpose, 
be  said  to  be  these :  First,  the  purely  speculative 
question,  What  is  the  essential  nature  of  moral  right- 
ness  ?  Secondly,  the  practical  questions,  What  is  to 
man  the  criterion  of  his  duty  ?  and  what  is  the  founda 
tion  of  obligation  ?  The  additional  question,  By  what 
faculty  do  we  discern  right  and  wrong  ?  is  properly  a 
psychological  one. 

1  The  reader  will  be  reminded  of  the  similar  story  of  Dr.  Johnson 
and  the  boots. 



If  we  had  only  to  do  with  a  being  in  whom  Reason 
was  irresistibly  dominant,  we  should  not  need  to  raise 
any  further  questions  ;  but  having  to  treat  of  a  being 
with  affections  and  appetites  distinct  from  reason,  and 
not  of  themselves  dependent  on  it,  we  must  answer 
the  further  question :  How  is  Reason  to  maintain 
its  authority  in  spite  of  these  resisting  forces  ?  i.  c. 
What  is  the  Motive  ?  Lastly,  since  we  have  to  deal 
with  a  corrupt  creature,  a  new  question  arises :  How 
is  such  a  creature  to  be  reformed  ? 

Now,  how  does  Kant  deal  with  these  questions  ? 
His  categorical  imperative — Act  as  if  the  maxim  of 
thy  action  were  to  become  by  thy  will  a  universal  law 
of  nature — gives  perhaps  not  the  essence  of  virtue,  but 
a  property  of  it,  which  may  indeed  serve  as  a  subjec 
tive  criterion.  That  this  criterion  is  formal  only,  and 
therefore  empty,  is  hardly  of  itself  a  valid  objection. 
The  test  of  valid  reasoning,  the  syllogism,  is  equally 
empty.  The  categorical  imperative  is,  however, 
rather  negative  than  positive ;  and  it  is  far  from 
being  sufficiently  clear  as  a  test  of  the  morality  of 
actions.  This  appears  even  in  the  examples  which 
Kant  himself  gives.  For  example,  treating  of  Com 
passion,  he  supposes  that  if  a  man  refuses  aid  to  the 
distressed,  it  is  out  of  selfishness,  and  then  shows  that 
if  selfishness  was  the  ruling  principle,  it  would  contra 
dict  itself.  But  why  assume  a  motive  for  refusing 
help  ?  What  we  want  is  a  motive  for  giving  help. 
There  is  nothing  contradictory  in  willing  that  none 
should  help  others.  So  in  the  case  of  gratitude, 
there  is  no  contradiction  in  willing  that  those  who 
receive  benefits  should  entertain  no  peculiar  feeling 
toward  their  benefactor.  It  is  true  we  should  look 


for  it  ourselves ;  but  this  implies  that  such  a  feeling  is 
natural  to  man,  and  that  we  approve  it.  Again,  put 
the  case  of  self-sacrifice,  of  a  man  giving  his  life  to 
save  his  friend ;  it  would  seem  as  easy  on  Kant's 
principle  to  prove  this  a  vice  as  a  virtue. 

Kant  has  in  fact  treated  human  nature  too  ab 
stractly.  In  eliminating  the  "  matter  "  he  has  elimi 
nated  that  on  which  frequently  the  whole  question 
turns.  Indeed,  in  some  of  the  instances  he  himself 
chooses,  he  elicits  a  contradiction  only  by  bringing 
in  a  teleological  consideration;  e.g.  as  to  suicide,  he 
brings  in  the  end  for  which  self-love  was  given.  The 
will  to  destroy  one's  own  life  is  not  contradictory  of 
the  will  to  sustain  it,  unless  the  circumstances  be 
supposed  the  same. 

These  remarks,  however,  only  show  that  the  for 
mula  is  not  a  mechanical  rule  of  conduct ;  they  do 
not  disprove  its  scientific  value.  In  fact,  precisely 
similar  objections  have  been  alleged  against  the  logi 
cal  analysis  of  speculative  reasoning,  that  it  leaves 
untouched  what  in  practice  is  the  most  difficult  part 
of  the  problem.  If  all  poisonous  substances  could  be 
brought  under  a  single  chemical  formula,  the  gene 
ralization  would  be  of  value  both  theoretically  and 


practically,  although  its  application  to  particular 
cases  might  be  difficult  and  uncertain.  Kant  never 
attempted  "  to  deduce  a  complete  code  of  duty  from 
a  purely  formal  principle  " ; l  he  expressly  states  that 

1  Sidgwick,  Method  of  Ethics,  page  181  ;  3rd  ed.,  page  207.  In 
his  third  edition,  Mr.  Sidgwick  appeals,  in  defence  of  his  view,  to 
Kant's  statements  in  pp.  38-42  of  the  present  book.  The  passage  on 
p.  299  was,  he  remarks,  written  ten  years  later.  But  I  think  it  will 
be  found  that  in  each  of  his  hypothetical  cases  he  does  not  deduce 



this  is  only  a  negative  principle,  and  that  the  matter 
of  practical  maxims  is  to  be  derived  from  a  different 
source  (cf.  the  present  work,  p.  299).  Nor  is  it  to  be 
supposed  that  Kant  was  not  fully  aware  of  the  difficulty 
of  applying  his  formula  to  the  complex  circumstances 
of  actual  life.  In  his  Metaphysic  of  Morals  he  states  a 
great  number  of  questions  of  casuistry,  which  he  leaves 
undecided,  as  puzzles  or  exercises  to  the  reader.  And 
indeed  similar  difficulties  might  be  raised,  from  a 
speculative  point  of  view,  respecting  the  rule,  "  What 
soever  ve  would  that  men  should  do  unto  you,  even 
so  do  unto  them  " — a  rule  of  which  we  may  never 
theless  say  that  in  practice  it  probably  never  misled 
anyone,  for  everyone  sees  that  the  essence  of  it  is  the 
elimination  of  self-partiality  and  inward  dishonesty. 
The  scientific  basis  of  it  is  stated  by  Clarke  in  lan 
guage  nearly  equivalent  to  Kant's.  The  reason  of 
it,  says  the  former,  is  the  same  as  that  which  forces 
us  in  speculation  to  affirm  that  if  one  line  or  number 
be  equal  to  another,  that  other  is  equal  to  it.  "  What 
ever  relation  or  proportion  one  man  in  any  case  bears 
to  another,  the  same  that  other,  when  put  in  like  cir 
cumstances,  bears  to  him.  Whatever  I  judge  reason 
able  or  unreasonable  for  another  to  do  for  me,  that, 
by  the  same  judgment,  I  declare  reasonable  or  unrea 
sonable  that  I  in  the  like  case  should  do  for  him."1 
Kant's  rule  is  a  generalization  of  this,  so  as  to  include 
duties  to  ourselves  as  well  as  to  others.  As  such  it 
has  a  real  scientific  value.  Practically,  its  value 

the  maxim  from  the  imperative.  What  he  does  is  to  test  the  maxim 
by  the  imperative,  just  as  ho  might  test  an  argument  by  the  rules  of 

1  Discourse  on  the  Attriliitef,  &c.     Ed.  1728,  p.  200. 

MEMOIR   OF   KANT.  liii 

consists,  like  that  of  the  golden  rule,  in  the  elimination 
of  inward  dishonesty. 

Mill's  criticism  on  Kant's  formula  is,  that  when 
we  speak  of  a  maxim  being  u'fit"  to  be  a  universal 
law,  it  is  obvious  that  some  test  of  fitness  is  required, 
and  that  Kant,  in  fact,  tests  the  maxims  by  their  con 
sequences;  as  if  the  whole  gist  of  Kant's  argument 
were  not  that  the  only  test  of  this  fitness  is  logical 
possibility ;  or  as  if  this  were  not  the  one  thing 
expressed  in  his  formula.  As  to  testing  maxims  by 
consequences,  he  does  so  in  the  same  sense  in  which 
Euclid  in  indirect  demonstrations  tests  a  hypothesis  by 
its  consequences,  and  in  no  other,  i.  e,  by  the  logical 
consequences,  not  the  practical.  Take  the  case  of  a 
promise.  In  Kant's  view,  the  argument  against  the 
law  permitting  unfaithfulness  is  not  that  it  would  be 
attended  with  consequences  injurious  to  society,  but 
that  it  would  annihilate  all  promises  (the  present 
included),  and  therefore  annihilate  itself.  Of  incon 
venience  to  society  not  a  word  is  said  or  implied. 
Hence  Kant's  objection  rests  wholly  on  the  absolute 
universality  of  the  supposed  law,  whereas  the  Utili 
tarian  objection  from  practical  consequences  would  be 
applicable  in  a  proportionate  degree  to  a  law  riot  sup 
posed  universal.  Hence,  also,  Kant's  test  would  hold 
even  if  the  present  promise  were  never  to  be  followed 
by  another ;  nay,  it  would  be  of  equal  force  even 
though  it  should  be  proved  that  it  would  be  better  for 
society  that  there  sho.uld  be  no  verbal  promises. 

It  has  been  said1  that  in  applying  Kant's  formula 

1  Sidgwick,    Method   of  Ethics,    page   450;    3rd  ed.,    page   482. 
Mr.  Sidgwick's  argument  involves  the  assumption,  that  the  sum  of 

liv  MEMOIR    OF    KANT. 

we  must  qualify  it  by  introducing  the  consideration 
of  the  probability  that  our  example  or  rule  will  be 
generally  followed ;  and  the  instance  of  celibacy  has 
been  suggested,  which,  it  is  said,  would  be  necessarily 
condemned  as  a  crime  if  tested  by  Kant's  rule,  pure 
and  simple ;  for  if  all  men  practised  celibacy,  there 
would  be  an  end  of  the  race,  and,  on  the  "  greatest 
happiness  "  principle,  to  effect  this  would  be  the  worst 
of  crimes.  Now,  if  a  qualification  were  required,  or 
admissible,  Kant's  formula  would  be  deprived  of  all 
scientific  significance,  and  its  application  made  depen 
dent  on  private  and  uncertain  opinion.  As  to  the 
example  of  celibacy,  Kant  has  himself  indicated  how 
he  would  dispose  of  it  by  the  way  in  which  he  treats 
suicide.  He  does  not  show  its  unlawfulness  by  alleg 
ing  that  if  everyone  committed  suicide  the  human 
race  would  come  to  an  end,  but  by  exposing  the  in 
consistency  in  the  principle  of  action  which  would  lead 
to  suicide.  In  every  case  it  is  the  mental  principle 
which  is  to  be  tested,  not  the  mere  external  action. 
Bearing  this  in  mind,  we  shall  find  no  difficulty  in 
the  case  of  celibacy.  It  may  proceed  from  motives 
which  there  would  be  no  absurdity  in  supposing  uni 
versal,  because  the  circumstances  which  give  them  this 
particular  direction  could  only  be  exceptional.  But, 
suppose  celibacy  recommended  on  grounds  which  are 
in  their  own  nature  universal,  e.  g.  as  a  condition  of 
moral  perfection,  then  Kant's  formula  would  properly 

human  happiness  is  certainly  known  to  exceed  that  of  human  misery. 
Even  on  his  own  statement,  a  man  who  doubted  or  disbelieved  this 
would  be  justified  in  adopting  celibacy.  Nay,  in  the  latter  case,  he 
might  regard  it  as  a  duty. 

MEMOIR   OF    KANT.  lv 

apply,  for  moral  perfection  is  an  end  to  be  aimed  at 
by  all.  One  might  just  as  well  say  that  Kant's  rule 
would  make  all  killing  criminal,  whereas  Kant  would 
obviously  require  us  to  take  into  account  the  motive, 
self-defence,  or  other.  On  the  other  hand,  apply  Mr. 
Sidgwick's  qualifications,  and  what  would  result  ?  Why, 
that  we  might  innocently  kill,  provided  the  action 
were  not  likely  to  be  generally  imitated !  If  occasional 
celibacy  is  justified  only  because  there  exists  a  natural 
passion  which  is  sure  to  be  usually  powerful  enough 
to  prevent  the  example  being  followed,  then  we  may 
equally  justify  occasional  violence  or  murder  on  the 
ground  that  fear  or  benevolence  will  naturally  prevent 
the  action  from  being  extensively  imitated. 

Kant's  view  of  the  source  of  obligation  in  the 
Autonomy  of  the  will  appears  to  require  qualification 
if  we  would  avoid  a  contradiction.  A  law  must  be 
above  the  nature  to  which  it  is  a  law,  and  which  is 
subject  to  it.  A  being  which  gave  itself  the  moral  law, 
and  whose  freedom,  therefore,  is  Autonomy,  would 
not  be  conscious  of  obligation  or  duty,  since  the  moral 
law  would  coincide  with  its  will.  Kant  draws  the  ap 
parently  self -contradictory  conclusion  that  we,  though 
willing  the  law,  yet  resist  it.  Even  if  this  be  granted, 
it  would  follow,  not  that  we  should  feel  obliged,  but 
that  either  no  action  at  all  would  follow,  or  the  more 
powerful  side  would  prevail.  That  we  condemn  our 
selves  when  we  have  violated  the  law  is  an  important 
fact,  on  which  Kant  very  strongly  insists,  but  which 
his  theory  fails  to  explain.  Is  it  not  a  far  simpler  and 
truer  explanation  to  say  that  this  self-condemnation, 
this  humiliation  in  the  presence  of  an  unbending  judge, 
is  a  proof  that  we  have  not  given  ourselves  the  law  j 


that  we  are  subjects  of  a  higher  power  ?l  There  is, 
indeed,  a  sense  in  which  Autonomy  may  be  truly  vin 
dicated  to  man.  The  moral  law  is  not  a  mere  precept 
imposed  upon  us  from  without,  nor  is  it  forced  upon 
us  by  our  sensitive  nature ;  it  is  a  law  prescribed  to 
us,  or,  more  correctly  speaking,  revealed  to  us,  by  our 
own  Reason.  But  Reason  is  not  our  own  in  the  sense 
in  which  our  appetites  or  sensations  are  our  own  ;  it  is 
not  under  our  own  control ;  it  bears  the  stamp  of  uni 
versality  and  authority.  Thus  it  declares  itself  imper 
sonal  :  in  other  words,  what  Reason  reveals  we  regard 
as  valid  for  all  beings  possessed  of  intelligence  equal 
or  superior  to  our  own.  Hence,  many  ethical  writers, 
both  ancient  and  modern,  have  insisted  as  strongly  as 
Kant  that  the  moral  law  is  common  to  man  with  all 
rational  creatures.2  And  when  Kant  speaks  of  Auto 
nomy,  this  is  all  that  his  argument  requires.  Accord 
ingly,  he  sometimes  speaks  of  rational  creatures  as  the 
subjects  of  Reason,  which  is  the  supreme  legislator. 

As  regards  the  sanctions  of  the  moral  law,  which 
practically  to  imperfect  creatures  furnish  the  motive, 
these  consist,  according  to  Kant,  in  the  happiness  and 
misery  which  are  the  natural  consequences  of  virtue 

1  Kant  appears  to  recognize  this  in  the  passage  quoted  on  p.  3l22. 

2  For  instance,  Cicero  de  Legibus  argues  that  there  is  "  coinmunio 
juris  inter  deos  et  homines."     Dr.   Adams  (in  his  celebrated  sermon 

On  the  Obligation  of  Virtue},  like  Kant,  remarks  that  to  found  the 
obligation  of  virtue  on  any  good  affections,  or  on  a  moral  sense  (as 
this  is  generally  understood),  is  to  make  its  nature  wholly  precarious, 
to  suppose  that  men  might  have  been  intelligent  beings  without  such 
sentiments,  or  with  the  very  reverse.  So  Clarke  had  insisted  that 
the  eternal  relations  of  things,  with  their  consequent  fitnesses,  must 
appear  the  same  to  the  understandings  of  all  intelligent  beings.  In 
fact,  this  is  a  commonplace  of  English  moralists. 


and  vice ;  and  he  thinks  that  when  they  are  regarded 
as  natural  consequences,  the  dread  of  the  misery  will 
have  more  effect  than  if  it  were  thought  to  be  an 
arbitrary  punishment.  "  The  view  into  an  illimitable 
future  of  happiness  or  misery  is  sufficient  to  serve  as 
a  motive  to  the  virtuous  to  continue  steadfast  in  well 
doing,  and  to  arouse  in  the  vicious  the  condemning 
voice  of  conscience  to  check  his  evil  course."1  In 
this  Kant  agrees  with  Cumberland.  Kant's  argument 
for  immortality  is  in  substance  that  it  is  necessary  for 
a  continued  indefinite  approximation  to  the  ideal  of 
the  moral  law.  But  since,  as  he  maintains,  we  have 
ourselves  to  blame  for  not  having  attained  this  ideal, 
what  right  have  we  to  expect  such  an  opportunity  ? 
Having  missed  the  true  moment  in  his  argument, 
which  led  to  the  existence  of  a  Supreme  Lawgiver,  he 
arrived  at  this  fundamental  truth  by  a  roundabout  way, 
through  the  conception  of  the  summum  bonum.  But  this 
introduces  a  quite  heterogeneous  notion,  viz.,  that  of 
happiness.  Happiness  belongs  to  a  man  as  a  sensible 
creature,  and  all  that  he  has  a  right  to  say  is,  that  if 
Practical  Reason  had  happiness  to  confer,  it  would 
confer  it  on  virtue.  How  much  more  direct  and  con 
vincing  is  the  argument  suggested  by  Butler's  brief 
words :  "  Consciousness  of  a  rule  or  guide  of  action, 
in  creatures  who  are  capable  of  considering  it  as  given 
them  by  their  Maker,  not  only  raises  immediately  a 
sense  of  duty,  but  also  a  sense  of  security  in  following- 
it,  and  of  danger  in  deviating  from  it.  A  direction  of 
the  Author  of  Nature,  given  to  creatures  capable  of 
looking  upon  it  as  such,  is  plainly  a  command  from 

1  Religion,  p.  80. 

Iviii  MEMOIR   OF   KANT. 

him ;  and  a  command  from  him  necessarily  includes 
in-  it  at  least  an  implicit  promise  in  case  of  obedience, 
or  threatening  in  case  of  disobedience  " ;  and  since 
"  his  method  of  government  is  to  reward  and  punish 
actions,  his  having  annexed  to  some  actions  an 
inseparable  sense  of  good  desert,  and  to  others  of 
ill,  this  surely  amounts  to  declaring  upon  whom 
his  punishments  shall  be  inflicted,  and  his  rewards 

Kant  sees  no  mode  of  reconciling  morality  with  the 
law  of  Causality,  except  by  his  distinction  of  noumena 
and  phenomena.  When  the  law  of  Causality  is  rightly 
understood,  there  is  no  inconsistency.  For  the  cause 
which  it  demands  is  an  efficient  cause,  and  the  idea  of 
an  efficient  cause  involves  the  idea  of  mind.1  It  is  in 
volved  in  the  idea  of  matter,  that  it  cannot  originate 
(this  Kant  himself  adopts  as  a  first  principle  in  his 
Metaphysics  of  Natural  Philosophy) ;  whereas  it  is  the 
very  idea  of  mind  with  will  that  it  does  originate. 

1  This  has  been  recognized  by  philosophers  of  all  periods  who  have 
not  begun  with  a  particular  theory  as  to  the  origin  of  the  idea  and  the 
principle.  Thus,  to  take  only  non-metaphysical  writers,  Sir  J.  Herschel 
says  :  "  It  is  our  own  immediate  consciousness  of  effort  which  we  exert 
to  put  matter  in  motion,  or  to  oppose  and  neutralize  force,  which  gives 
us  this  internal  conviction  of  power  and  causation,  so  far  as  it  refers 
to  the  material  world,  and  compels  us  to  believe  that  whenever  we  see 
material  objects  put  in  motion  ...  it  is  in  consequence  of  such  an 
effort,  somehow  exerted,  though  not  accompanied  with  our  conscious 
ness."  (Astronomy,  10th  ed.,  sec.  439.)  Dubois  Reymond  makes 
a  similar  statement,  deriving  the  principle  from  "  an  irresistible 
tendency  to  personify."  It  is  somewhat  singular  that  the  philosophers 
who  most  strenuously  deny  that  the  principle  of  causality  has  any 
basis  other  than  our  observation  of  the  phenomena  of  passive  matter, 
yet  insist  most  strongly  on  extending  it  to  those  of  active  will. 


When  we  seek  the  cause  of  motion,  we  are  satisfied 
when  we  trace  it  to  a  will.  True,  we  may  then  ask 
for  the  motive ;  but  the  nature  of  motive  and  that  of 
efficient  cause  are  heterogeneous. 

Kant's  view  of  Freedom,  however,  does  not  involve 
anything  of  caprice  or  indeterminateness.  Freedom, 
according  to  him,  is  not  independence  on  law  which 
we  can  consciously  follow,  but  independence  on  the 
physical  relation  of  causality,  the  not  being  deter 
mined  by  physical  or  sensible  causes.  On  this  view 
the  contradiction,  which  to  Hobbes  and  others  seemed 
to  exist  between  the  conception  of  freedom  and  that 
of  the  Divine  foreknowledge,  would  have  little  weight. 
A  short  consideration  suffices  to  show  that  there  is  a 
fallacy  involved  in  Hobbes1  argument.  Suppose  a  being 
perfectly  wise  and  good,  and  at  the  same  time  free, 
then  we  should  only  require  perfect  knowledge  of  the 
circumstances  of  a  particular  case  in  order  to  predict 
his  conduct,  and  that  infallibly.  If  he  were  not  free, 
we  could  not  do  so.  And  the  more  nearly  a  being 
approaches  such  perfection,  the  more  certainly  could 
we  predict  his  actions.  If  his  goodness  were  perfect, 
but  his  knowledge  imperfect,  and  if  we  knew  how  far 
his  knowledge  extended,  we  could  still  predict.  It 
would  be  absurd  to  say  that  this  would  be  a  con 

It  is  worthy  of  notice  that  Cudworth's  conception 
of  liberty  corresponds  closely  with  that  of  Kant. 
"  The  true  liberty  of  a  man,  as  it  speaks  pure  per 
fection,  is  when  by  the  right  use  of  the  faculty  of 
free  will,  together  with  the  assistance  of  Divine  grace, 
he  is  habitually  fixed  in  moral  good  "  ;  "  but  when  by 
the  abuse  of  that  faculty  of  free  will  men  come  to  be 


habitually  fixed  in  evil  and  sinful  inclinations,  then 
are  they,  as  Boethius  well  expresses  it,  proprice  libertati 
captivi  —  made  captive  and  brought  into  bondage  by 
their  own  free  will."  It  may  have  been  suggested 
to  both  of  them  by  St.  Paul,  who  represents  sin  as 
slavery,  righteousness  as  freedom. 

Kant  is  by  no  means  happy  in  his  treatment  of 
the  corruption  of  human  nature.  In  order  to  escape  the 
difficulty  of  reconciling  responsibility  with  the  innate 
corruption  on  which  he  so  strongly  dwells,  he  has 
recourse  (as  in  the  case  of  freedom)  to  the  distinction 
between  man  noumenon  and  man  phenomenon.  The 
innate  evil  of  human  nature  rests  on  an  inversion  of 
the  natural  order,  the  legislative  will  being  subordi 
nated  to  the  sensibility.  But  how  can  this  be  recon 
ciled  with  the  self-given  and  therefore  self-willed 
law  which  makes  good  a  duty  ?  It  is  inconceivable 
that  the  pure  supersensible  essence  could  invest  the 
sensational  nature  (the  objects  of  which  have  for  it  no 
reality)  with  a  preponderance  over  itself.  A  further 
contradiction  appears  to  be  involved  in  the  relation  of 
evil  to  freedom  ;  for  he  states  that  freedom  is  as 
inseparably  connected  with  the  law  of  Practical  Reason 
as  the  physical  cause  with  the  law  of  nature,  so  that 
freedom  without  the  law  of  Practical  Reason  is  a 
causality  without  law,  which  would  be  absurd  ;  and 
yet,  on  the  other  hand,  he  regards  freedom  as  an 
ability  from  which  proceeds  contradiction  to  the 
moral  law. 

A  still  more  insuperable  difficulty  meets  him  when 
he  attempts  to  answer  the  question.  Is  reformation 
possible  ?  He  replies  :  Yes  ;  for  it  is  a  duty.  You 
ought  :  therefore  you  can.  How  the  return  from  evil 

MEMOIR    OF   KANT.  Ixi 

to  good  is  possible  cannot  indeed  be  comprehended ; 
but  the  original  fall  from  good  to  evil  is  equally 
incomprehensible,  and  yet  is  a  fact.  Now,  freedom, 
which  belongs  to  the  supersensible  sphere  (the  sphere 
of  noumena),  cannot  be  determined  by  anything  in  the 
phenomenal  world ;  consequently,  if  freedom  has,  apart 
from  time,  given  the  man  a  determination,  then  no 
event  in  time  can  produce  a  change.  Nay,  it  would 
be  a  contradiction  to  suppose  the  removal  of  an  act  in 
the  noumenal  (supersensible)  world  by  a  succeeding 
act.  Contrary  or  contradictory  attributes  cannot  be 
attributed  to  the  same  subject  except  under  the  con 
dition  of  time.  If,  therefore,  the  intelligent  being  is 
timeless,  we  cannot  possibly  attribute  to  it  two  deci 
sions,  of  which  one  annuls  the  other.  He  is  not  even 
consistent,  for  he  argues  that  it  is  not  possible  to 
destroy  this  radical  corruption  by  human  power,  but 
only  to  overcome  it.  Why  does  he  not  conclude  here, 
I  ought  to  destroy  it :  therefore  I  can  ?  Lastly,  even 
if  this  "I  can"  were  granted,  it  would  be  only  a 
theoretical,  not  a  practical,  possibility.  If  the  man 
endowed  with  the  faculties  in  their  true  subordina 
tion,  with  reason  supreme,  has  yet  not  had  strength 
or  purity  of  will  to  remain  so,  what  practical  possi 
bility  is  there  that  having  this  subordination  perverted 
he  can  restore  it?  There  is  obviously  an  external 
aid  necessary  here.  Not  that  anything  wholly  exter 
nal  could  effect  the  change,  which  can  only  be 
produced  by  something  operating  on  man's  own 
moral  nature  ;  but  there  must  be  a  moral  leverage, 
an  external  fulcrum,  a  TTOV  CTTO).  Such  aid,  such 
leverage  are  provided  by  the  Christian  religion.  It 
has  introduced  a  new  motive,  perfectly  original  and 

Ixii  MEMOIR   OF   KANT. 

unique,  the  overpowering  force  of  which  has  been 
proved  in  many  crucial  instances;  and  no  more  com 
plete  theoretical  proof  of  the  absolute  necessity  of 
some  such  revelation  could  be  given  than  is  supplied 
by  the  attempts  of  the  profoundest  philosopher  of 
modern  times  to  dispense  with  it. 

Kant's  own  position  with  respect  to  Christianity 
is  that  of  a  Rationalist.  He  accepts  the  whole  moral 
and  spiritual  teaching  of  the  New  Testament,  because 
he  finds  it  in  accordance  with  reason,  and  this  being 

*  o 

so,  he  judges  that  it  is  a  matter  of  no  practical  conse 
quence  whether  its  introduction  was  supernatural  or 
not.  He  did  not  deny  that  Divine  aid  was  required 
to  make  reformation  possible ;  but  he  thought  that  no 
intellectual  belief  or  knowledge  of  ours  could  be  a 
condition  of  this  aid,  and,  therefore,  that  all  historical 
questions  were  adiaphora.  But  this  is  to  take  for 
granted  that  if  God  gives  such  aid  at  all,  it  must  be  in 
a  particular  way.  Butlers  argument  from  analogy  is 
conclusive  against  such  assumptions.  And,  indeed,  it  is 
certain  that  the  moral  and  the  historical  in  Christianity 
cannot  be  thus  kept  apart.  It  is  to  the  facts  that  the 
doctrines  owe  their  life  and  motive-power.  It  is  these 
that  supply  the  leverage,  without  which  the  most  per 
fect  moral  teaching  will  fall  dead  on  the  ears  at  least 
of  the  masses  of  mankind. 

Besides,  as  Butler  shows,  revealed  facts  may  be 
the  foundation  of  moral  duties  to  those  to  whom  the 
revelation  has  come. 

It  is  remarkable  that,  although  Kant  was  fond  of 
reading  English  authors,  and  was  influenced  in  his 
moral  discussions  by  English  moralists,  Butler  (who 
had  written  half  a  century  before  the  publication  of 

MEMOIR   OF   KANT.  Ixiii 

the  Kritik]  was  wholly  unknown  to  him.  What  is 
more  remarkable  is,  that  Butler  has  remained  equally 
unknown  to  German  writers  up  to  the  present  day. 
Whilst  German  historians  of  moral  philosophy  are 
careful  to  note  the  merits  of  even  Wollaston  and 
Ferguson,  they  pass  over  Butler's  name  in  silence. 
The  reason  of  this  silence,  doubtless,  is  to  be  found 
in  the  title  of  his  work.  But  although  foreign  philo 
sophers  could  not  be  expected  to  look  for  a  treatise 
on  moral  philosophy  in  a  book  called  Fifteen  Sermons, 
how  is  it  that  attention  was  not  called  to  him  by  the 
notices  in  Mackintosh  (who  is  largely  cited,  e.  g.  by 
I.  H.  Fichte),  which  showed  the  high  estimation  in 
which  the  work  was  held  in  England  ?  It  is  certainly 
a  curious  and  suggestive  fact  that  writers,  professedly 
and  learnedly  treating  of  English  moral  philosophers, 
should  be  wholly  ignorant  of  the  writer  who  holds  by 
far  the  highest  rank  among  them,  whose  work  is  the 
classical  work,  the  text-book  of  the  Universities,  and 
with  a  wider  circulation,  probably,  than  the  works  of 
all  the  other  moralists  put  together. 

The  most  striking  peculiarity  of  Kant's  moral 
theory  is  its  connexion  with  his  metaphysical  system. 
It  is  in  the  moral  law  that  he  finds  the  means  of  estab 
lishing  the  existence,  and  to  some  extent  the  nature,  of 
the  supersensible  reality.  He  has  been  charged  with 
inconsistency  in  this.  What  he  pulls  down  in  the 
Critique  of  the  Speculative  Reason,  he  restores  illo- 
gically,  it  is  said,  in  that  of  the  Practical  Reason. 
The  fact  appears  to  be,  that  readers  of  the  former 
work  are  apt  to  fall  into  two  mistakes.  First,  they 
suppose  that  they  have  before  them  a  complete  system 
instead  of  a  portion  only  ;  and  secondly,  they  mistake 

Ixiv  MEMOIR   OF   KANT. 

the  attitude  of  suspense  with  regard  to  the  supersen 
sible  reality  for  a  dogmatic  negation  of  all  knowledge 
thereof.  When  they  come  to  the  Practical  works, 
they  find  the  impression  thus  formed  respecting 
Kant's  attitude  towards  the  supersensible  contradicted. 
But  the  inconsistency  is  not  between  the  two  parts  of 
Kant's  system,  but  between  his  system  as  a  whole  and 
the  impression  derived  from  a  partial  view  of  it.  That 
he  limits  his  affirmation  of  the  supersensible  to  its 
practical  aspect  is  quite  in  accordance  with  the  spirit 
of  his  philosophy.  Nor  is  this  limitation  so  very 
unlike  that  of  the  common-sense  philosopher,  Locke, 
who,  in  speaking  of  the  limits  of  our  faculties,  says  that 
men  have  reason  to  be  well  satisfied,  since  God  hath 
given  them  "  whatever  is  necessary  for  the  conveni 
ences  of  life,  and  the  information  of  virtue  "  ;  adding, 
"  How  short  soever  their  knowledge  may  come  of  an 
universal  or  perfect  comprehension  of  whatsoever  is, 
it  yet  secures  their  great  concernments,  that  they 
have  light  enough  to  lead  them  to  the  knowledge 
of  their  Maker,  and  the  sight  of  their  own  duties." 
(Essay,  bk.  I.,  ch.  i.,  §  5.) 


ANCIENT  GREEK  PHILOSOPHY  was  divided  into  three 
sciences :  Physics,  Ethics,  and  Logic.  This  division  is 
perfectly  suitable  to  the  nature  of  the  thing;  and  the  only 
improvement  that  can  be  made  in  it  is  to  add  the  principle  on 
which  it  is  based,  so  that  we  may  both  satisfy  ourselves  of  its 
completeness,  and  also  be  able  to  determine  correctly  the 
necessary  subdivisions. 

All  rational  knowledge  is  either  material  or  formal :  the 
former  considers  some  object,  the  latter  is  concerned  only  with 
the  form  of  the  understanding  and  of  the  reason  itself,  and  with 
the  universal  laws  of  thought  in  general  without  distinction 
of  its  objects.  Formal  philosophy  is  called  Logic.  Material 
philosophy,  however,  which  has  to  do  with  determinate  objects 
and  the  laws  to  which  they  are  subject,  is  again  twofold ;  for 
these  laws  are  either  laws  of  nature  or  of  freedom.  The  science 
of  the  former  is  Physics,  that  of  the  latter,  Ethics  ;  they  are  also 
called  natural  philosophy  and  moral  philosophy  respectively. 

Logic  cannot  have  any  empirical  part ;  that  is,  a  part  in 
which  the  universal  and  necessary  laws  of  thought  should  rest 
on  grounds  taken  from  experience ;  otherwise  it  would  not  be 
logic,  i.e.  a  canon  for  the  understanding  or  the  reason,  valid 
for  all  thought,  and  capable  of  demonstration  (4).  Natural  and 



moral  philosophy,  on  the  contrary,  can  each  have  their  empirical 
part,  since  the  former  has  to  determine  the  laws  of  nature  as 
an  object  of  experience  ;  the  latter  the  laws  of  the  human  will, 
so  far  as  it  is  affected  by  nature  :  the  former,  however, 
being  laws  according  to  which  everything  does  happen  ;  the 
latter,  laws  according  to  which  everything  ought  to  happen.1 
Ethics,  however,  must  also  consider  the  conditions  under  which 
what  ought  to  happen  frequently  does  not. 

We  may  call  all  philosophy  empirical,  so  far  as  it  is  based 
on  grounds  of  experience :  on  the  other  hand,  that  which 
delivers  its  doctrines  from  d  priori  principles  alone  we  may 
call  pure  philosophy.  When  the  latter  is  merely  formal,  it  is 
loyic  ;  if  it  is  restricted  to  definite  objects  of  the  understanding, 
it  is  metaphysic. 

In  this  way  there  arises  the  idea  of  a  twofold  metaphysic — 
a  metaphysic  of  nature  and  a  metaphysic  of  morals.  Physics  will 
thus  have  an  empirical  and  also  a  rational  part.  It  is  the 
same  with  Ethics  ;  but  here  the  empirical  part  might  have  the 
special  name  of  practical  anthropology,  the  name  morality  being 
appropriated  to  the  rational  part. 

All  trades,  arts,  and  handiworks  have  gained  by  division  of 
labour,  namely,  when,  instead  of  one  man  doing  everything, 
each  confines  himself  to  a  certain  kind  of  work  distinct  from 
others  in  the  treatment  it  requires,  so  as  to  be  able  to  perform 
it  with  greater  facility  and  in  the  greatest  perfection.  Where 
the  different  kinds  of  work  are  not  so  distinguished  and  divided, 
where  everyone  is  a  jack-of -all-trades,  there  manufactures  remain 
still  in  the  greatest  barbarism.  It  might  deserve  to  be  considered 

1  [The  word  "  law"  is  here  used  in  two  different  senses,  on  which  see 
Whately's  Logic,  Appendix,  Art.  "  Law."] 

[fi]  OF   THE   METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  3 

whether  pure  philosophy  in  all  its  parts  does  not  require  a  man 
specially  devoted  to  it,  and  whether  it  would  not  be  better  for 
the  whole  business  of  science  if  those  who,  to  please  the  tastes 
of  the  public,  are  wont  to  blend  the  rational  and  empirical 
elements  together,  mixed  in  all  sorts  of  proportions  unknown 
to  themselves  (5),  and  who  call  themselves  independent  thinkers, 
giving  the  name  of  minute  philosophers  to  those  who  apply 
themselves  to  the  rational  part  only — if  these,  I  say,  were 
warned  not  to  carry  on  two  employments  together  which  differ 
widely  in  the  treatment  they  demand,  for  each  of  which  perhaps 
a  special  talent  is  required,  and  the  combination  of  which  in  one 
person  only  produces  bunglers.  But  I  only  ask  here  whether  the 
nature  of  science  does  not  require  that  we  should  always  care 
fully  separate  the  empirical  from  the  rational  part,  and  prefix 
to  Physics  proper  (or  empirical  physics)  a  metaphysic  of  nature, 
and  to  practical  anthropology  a  metaphysic  of  morals,  which 
must  be  carefully  cleared  of  everything  empirical,  so  that  we 
may  know  how  much  can  be  accomplished  by  pure  reason  in 
both  cases,  and  from  what  sources  it  draws  this  its  a  priori 
teaching,  and  that  whether  the  latter  inquiry  is  conducted  by 
all  moralists  (whose  name  is  legion),  or  only  by  some  who  feel 
a  calling  thereto. 

As  my  concern  here  is  with  moral  philosophy,  I  limit  the 
question  suggested  to  this :  Whether  it  is  not  of  the  utmost 
necessity  to  construct  a  pure  moral  philosophy,  perfectly  cleared 
of  everything  which  is  only  empirical,  arid  which  belongs  to 
anthropology  ?  for  that  such  a  philosophy  must  be  possible  is 
evident  from  the  common  idea  of  duty  and  of  the  moral  laws. 
Everyone  must  admit  that  if  a  law  is  to  have  moral  force,  i.e. 
to  be  the  basis  of  an  obligation,  it  must  carry  with  it  absolute 
necessity ;  that,  for  example,  the  precept,  "  Thou  shalt  not  lie," 



is  not  valid  for  men  alone,  as  if  other  rational  beings  had  no 
need  to  observe  it ;  and  so  with  all  the  other  moral  laws  properly 
so  called ;  that,  therefore,  the  basis  of  obligation  must  not  be 
sought  in  the  nature  of  man,  or  in  the  circumstances  in  the 
world  in  which  he  is  placed,  but  a  priori  simply  in  the  concep 
tions  of  (e)  pure  reason  ;  and  although  any  other  precept  which 
is  founded  on  principles  of  mere  experience  may  be  in  certain 
respects  universal,  yet  in  as  far  as  it  rests  even  in  the  least 
degree  on  an  empirical  basis,  perhaps  only  as  to  a  motive,  such 
a  precept,  while  it  may  be  a  practical  rule,  can  never  be  called 
a.  moral  law. 

Thus  not  only  are  moral  laws  with  their  principles  essentially 
distinguished  from  every  other  kind  of  practical  knowledge  in 
which  there  is  anything  empirical,  but  all  moral  philosophy 
rests  wholly  on  its  pure  part.  When  applied  to  man,  it  does 
not  borrow  the  least  thing  from  the  knowledge  of  man  himself 
(anthropology),  but  gives  laws  a  priori  to  him  as  a  rational 
being.  No  doubt  these  laws  require  a  judgment  sharpened  by 
experience,  in  order  on  the  one  hand  to  distinguish  in  what 
cases  they  are  applicable,  and  on  the  other  to  procure  for  them 
access  to  the  will  of  the  man,  and  effectual  influence  on  conduct ; 
since  man  is  acted  on  by  so  many  inclinations  that,  though 
capable  of  the  idea  of  a  practical  pure  reason,  he  is  not  so  easily 
able  to  make  it  effective  in  concrcto  in  his  life. 

A  metaphysic  of  morals  is  therefore  indispensably  necessary, 
not  merely  for  speculative  reasons,  in  order  to  investigate  the 
sources  of  the  practical  principles  which  are  to  be  f ound  a  priori 
in  our  reason,  but  also  because  morals  themselves  are  liable  to  all 
sorts  of  corruption,  as  long  as  we  are  without  that  clue  and 
supreme  canon  by  which  to  estimate  them  correctly >*Tor  in 
order  that  an  action  should  be  morally  good,  it  is  not  enough 


that  it  conform  to  the  moral  law,  but  it  must  also  be  done  for 
the  sake  of  the  law,  otherwise  that  conformity  is  only  very  con 
tingent  and  uncertain ;  since  a  principle  which  is  not  moral, 
although  it  may  now  and  then  produce  actions  conformable  to 
the  law,  will  also  often  produce  actions  which  contradict  it  (7). 
Now  it  is  only  in  a  pure  philosophy  that  we  can  look  for  the 
moral  law  in  its  purity  and  genuineness  (and,  in  a  practical 
matter,  this  is  of  the  utmost  consequence) :  we  must,  therefore, 
begin  with  pure  philosophy  (metaphysic),  and  without  it  there 
cannot  be  any  moral  philosophy  at  all.  That  which  mingles 
these  pure  principles  with  the  empirical  does  not  deserve  the 
name  of  philosophy  (for  what  distinguishes  philosophy  from 
common  rational  knowledge  is,  that  it  treats  in  separate 
sciences  what  the  latter  only  comprehends  confusedly)  ;  much 
less  does  it  deserve  that  of  moral  philosophy,  since  by  this 
confusion  it  even  spoils  the  purity  of  morals  themselves,  and 
counteracts  its  own  end. 

Let  it  not  be  thought,  however,  that  what  is  here  demanded 
is  already  extant  in  the  prop^deutic  prefixed  by  the  celebrated 
Wolf1  to  his  moral  philosophy,  namely,  his  so-called  yeneral 
practiced  2)hilo.sopliy,  and  that,  therefore,  we  have  not  to  strike 
into  an  entirely  new  field.  Just  because  it  was  to  be  a  general 
practical  philosophy,  it  has  not  taken  into  consideration  a  will 
of  any  particular  kind — say  one  which  should  be  determined 
solely  from  a  priori  principles  without  any  empirical  motives, 
and  which  we  might  call  a  pure  will,  but  volition  in  general, 
with  all  the  actions  and  conditions  which  belong  to  it  in  this 

1  [Johann  Christian  Voii  Wolf  (1679-1754)  was  the  author  of  treatises 
on  philosophy,  mathematics,  ttc.,  which  were  for  a  longtime  the  standard 
text-books  in  the  German  Universities.  His  philosophy  was  founded  on 
that  of  Leibnitz.] 


general  signification.  By  this  it  is  distinguished  from  a  meta 
physic  of  morals,  just  as  general  logic,  which  treats  of  trie  acts 
and  canons  of  thought  in  yencral,  is  distinguished  from  tran 
scendental  philosophy,  which  treats  of  the  particular  acts  and 
canons  of  pi<rc  thought,  i.e.  that  whose  cognitions  are  altogether 
d  priori.  For  the  metaphysic  of  morals  has  to  examine  the 
idea  and  the  principles  of  a  possible  piirc.  will,  and  not  the 
acts  and  conditions  of  human  volition  generally,  which  for  the 
most  part  are  drawn  from  psychology  (s).  It  is  true  that  moral 
laws  and  duty  are  spoken  of  in  the  general  practical  philosophy 
(contrary  indeed  to  all  fitness).  But  this  is  no  objection,  for  in 
this  respect  also  the  authors  of  that  science  remain  true  to  their 
idea  of  it ;  they  do  not  distinguish  the  motives  which  are 
prescribed  as  such  by  reason  alone  altogether  d  priori,  and  which 
are  properly  moral,  from  the  empirical  motives  which  the 
understanding  raises  to  general  conceptions  merely  by  com 
parison  of  experiences  ;  but  without  noticing  the  difference  of 
their  sources,  and  looking  on  them  all  as  homogeneous,  they 
consider  only  their  greater  oTr  less  amount.  It  is  in  this  way 
they  frame  their  notion  of  obligation,  which,  though  anything 
but  moral,  is  all  that  can  be  asked  for  in  a  philosophy  which 
passes  no  judgment  at  all  on  the  origin  of  all  possible  practical 
concepts,  whether  they  are  d  priori,  or  only  d  posteriori. 

Intending  to  publish  hereafter  a  metaphysic  of  morals,  I 
issue  in  the  first  instance  these  fundamental  principles.  Indeed 
there  is  properly  no  other  foundation  for  it  than  the  critical 
wm  ination  of  a  pure  practical  reason]  just  as  that  of  metaphysics 
is  the  critical  examination  of  the  pure  speculative  reason, 
already  published.  But  in  the  first  place  the  former  is  not  so 
absolutely  necessary  as  the  latter,  because  in  moral  concerns 
human  reason  can  easily  be  brought  to  a  high  degree  of 


correctness  and  completeness,  even  in  the  commonest  under 
standing,  while  on  the  contrary  in  its  theoretic  but  pure  use  it 
is  wholly  dialectical;  and  in  the  second  place  if  the  critique  of 
a  pure  practical  reason  is  to  be  complete,  it  must  be  possible  at 
the  same  time  to  show  its  identity  with  the  speculative  reason 
in  a  common  principle,  for  it  can  ultimately  be  only  one  and 
the  same  reason  which  has  to  be  distinguished  merely  in  its 
application.  I  could  not,  however,  bring  it  to  such  complete 
ness  here,  without  introducing  considerations  of  a  wholly 
different  kind,  which  would  be  perplexing  to  the  reader  (9). 
On  this  account  I  have  adopted  the  title  of  Fundamental 
Principles  of  the  Metaphysic  of  Morals  instead  of  that  of  a 
Critical  Examination  of  the  pure,  practiced  reason. 

But  in  the  third  place,  since  a  metaphysic  of  morals,  in 
spite  of  the  discouraging  title,  is  yet  capable  of  being  presented 
in  a  popular  form,  and  one  adapted  to  the  common  under 
standing,  I  find  it  useful  to  separate  from  it  this  preliminary 
treatise  on  its  fundamental  principles,  in  order  that  I  may  not 
hereafter  have  need  to  introduce  these  necessarily  subtle 
discussions  into  a  book  of  a  more  simple  character. 

The  present  treatise  is,  however,  nothing  more  than  the 
investigation  and  establishment  of  the  supreme  principle  of 
morality,  and  this  alone  constitutes  a  study  complete  in  itself, 
and  one  which  ought  to  be  kept  apart  from  every  other  moral 
investigation.  No  doubt  my  conclusions  on  this  weighty 
question,  which  has  hitherto  been  very  unsatisfactorily 
examined,  would  receive  much  light  from  the  application  of 
the  same  principle  to  the  whole  system,  and  would  be  greatly 
confirmed  by  the  adequacy  which  it  exhibits  throughout ;  but 
I  must  forego  this  advantage,  which  indeed  would  be  after  all 
more  gratifying  than  useful,  since  the  easy  applicability  of  a 


principle  and  its  apparent  adequacy  give  no  very  certain  proof 
of  its  soundness,  but  rather  inspire  a  certain  partiality,  which 
prevents  us  from  examining  and  estimating  it  strictly  in  itself, 
and  without  regard  to  consequences. 

I  have  adopted  in  this  work  the  method  which  1  think 
most  suitable,  proceeding  analytically  from  common  knowledge 
to  the  determination  of  its  ultimate  principle,  and  jigain 
descending  synthetically  from  the  examination  of  this  principle 
and  its  sources  to  the  common  knowledge  in  which  we  find  it 
employed.  The  division  will,  therefore,  be  as  follows  ( 10) :— 

1.  First    section. — Transition    from    the    common    rational 

knowledge  of  morality  to  the  philosophical. 

2.  Second  section. — Transition  from  popular  moral  philosophy 

to  the  metaphysic  of  morals. 

3.  Third  section. — Final  step  from  the  metaphysic  of  morals 

to  the  critique  of  the  pure  practical  reason. 




NOTHING  can  possibly  be  conceived  in  the  world,  or  even  out  of 
it,  which  can  be  called  good,  without  qualification,  except  a  Good 
Will.  Intelligence,  wit,  judgment,  and  the  other  talent*  of  the 
mind,  however  they  may  be  named,  or  courage,  resolution,  per 
severance,  as  qualities  of  temperament,  are  undoubtedly  good 
and  desirable  in  many  respects ;  but  these  gifts  of  nature  may 
also  become  extremely  bad  and  mischievous  if  the  will  which  is 
to  make  use  of  them,  and  which,  therefore,  constitutes  what  is 
called  character,  is  not  good.  It  is  the  same  with  the  yifts  of 
fortune.  Power,  riches,  honour,  even  health,  and  the  general 
well-being  and  contentment  with  one's  condition  which  is  called 
hairiness,  inspire  pride,  and  often  presumption,  if  there  is  not  a 
good  will  to  correct  the  influence  of  these  on  the  mind,  and  with 
this  also  to  rectify  the  whole  principle  of  acting,  and  adapt  it 
to  its  end.  The  sight  of  a  being  who  is  not  adorned  with  a  single 
feature  of  a  pure  and  good  will,  enjoying  unbroken  prosperity, 
can  never  give  pleasure  to  an  impartial  rational  spectator  (12). 
Thus  a  good  will  appears  to  constitute  the  indispensable  condi 
tion  even  of  being  worthy  of  happiness. 

There  are  even  some  qualities  which  are  of  service  to  this 
good  will  itself,  and  may  facilitate  its  action,  yet  which  have  no 
intrinsic  unconditional  value,  but  always  presuppose  a  good 
will,  and  this  qualifies  the  esteem  that  we  justly  have  for  them, 
and  does  not  permit  us  to  regard  them  as  absolutely  good. 
Moderation  in  the  affections  and  passions,  self-control,  and 
calm  deliberation  are  not  only  good  in  many  respects,  but  even 
seem  to  constitute  part  of  the  intrinsic  worth  of  the  person ; 
but  they  are  far  from  deserving  to  be  called  good  without 


qualification,  although  they  have  been  so  unconditionally 
praised  by  the  ancients.  For  without  the  principles  of  a  good 
will,  they  may  become  extremely  bad;  and  the  coolness  of  a 
villain  not  only  makes  him  far  more  dangerous,  but  also  directly 
makes  him  more  abominable  in  our  eyes  than  he  would  have  been 
without  it. 

A  good  will  is  good  not  because  of  what  it  performs  or 
effects,  not  by  its  aptness  for  the  attainment  of  some  proposed 
end,  but  simply  by  virtue  of  the  volition,  that  is,  it  is  good  in 
itself,  and  considered  by  itself  is  to  be  esteemed  much  higher 
than  all  that  can  be  brought  about  by  it  in  favour  of  any  incli 
nation,  nay,  even  of  the  sum-total  of  all  inclinations.  Even  if 
it  shbuld  happen  that,  owing  to  special  disfavour  of  fortune,  or 
the  niggardly  provision  of  a  step-motherly  nature,  this  will 
should  wholly  lack  power  to  accomplish  its  purpose,  if  with  its 
greatest  efforts  it  should  yet  achieve  nothing,  and  there  should 
remain  only  the  good  will  (not,  to  be  sure,  a  mere  wish,  but  the 
summoning  of  all  means  in  our  power),  then,  like  a  jewel,  it 
would  still  shine  by  its  own  light,  as  a  thing  which  has  its 
whole  value  in  itself  '13).  Its  usefulness  or  fruitlessness  can 
neither  add  to  nor  take  away  anything  from  this  value.  It 
would  be,  as  it  were,  only  the  setting  to  enable  us  to  handle  it 
the  more  conveniently  in  common  commerce,  or  to  attract  to  it 
the  attention  of  those  who  are  not  yet  connoisseurs,  but  not  to 
recommend  it  to  true  connoisseurs,  or  to  determine  its  value. 

There  is,  however,  something  so  strange  in  this  idea  of  the 
absolute  value  of  the  mere  will,  in  which  no  account  is  taken  of 
its  utility,  that  notwithstanding  the  thorough  assent  of  even 
common  reason  to  the  idea,  yet  a  suspicion  must  arise  that  it 
may  perhaps  really  be  the  product  of  mere  high-flown  fancy, 
and  that  we  may  have  misunderstood  the  purpose  of  nature  in 
assigning  reason  as  the  governor  of  our  will.  Therefore  we  will 
examine  this  idea  from  this  point  of  view. 

In  the  physical  constitution  of  an  organized  being,  that  is,  a 
being  adapted  suitably  to  the  purposes  of  life,  we  assume  it  as 
a  fundamental  principle  that  no  organ  for  any  purpose  will  be 
found  but  what  is  also  the  fittest  and  best  adapted  for  that 

[14]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MOKALS.  11 

purpose.  Now  in  a  being  which  has  reason  and  a  will,  if  the 
proper  object  of  nature  were  its  conservation,  its  welfare,  in  a 
word,  its  happiness,  then  nature  would  have  hit  upon  a  very  bad 
arrangement  in  selecting  the  reason  of  the  creature  to  carry  out 
this  purpose.  For  all  the  actions  which  the  creature  has  to  per 
form  with  a  view  to  this  purpose,  and  the  whole  rule  of  its  con 
duct,  would  be  far  more  surely  prescribed  to  it  by  instinct,  and 
that  end  would  have  been  attained  thereby  much  more  certainly 
than  it  ever  can  be  by  reason.  Should  reason  have  been  com 
municated  to  this  favoured  creature  over  and  above,  it  must 
only  have  served  it  to  contemplate  the  happy  constitution  of  its 
nature  (14),  to  admire  it,  to  congratulate  itself  thereon,  and 
to  feel  thankful  for  it  to  the  beneficent  cause,  but  not  that  it 
should  subject  its  desires  to  that  weak  and  delusive  guidance, 
and  meddle  bunglingly  with  the  purpose  of  nature.  In  a  word, 
nature  would  have  taken  care  that  reason  should  not  break  forth 
into  practical  exercise,  nor  have  the  presumption,  with  its  weak 
insight,  to  think  out  for  itself  the  plan  of  happiness,  and  of 
the  means  of  attaining  it.  Nature  would  not  only  have  taken 
on  herself  the  choice  of  the  ends,  but  also  of  the  means,  and 
with  wise  foresight  would  have  entrusted  both  to  instinct. 

And,  in  fact,  we  find  that  the  more  a  cultivated  reason 
applies  itself  with  deliberate  purpose  to  the  enjoyment  of  life 
and  happiness,  so  much  the  more  does  the  man  fail  of  true 
satisfaction.  And  from  this  circumstance  there  arises  in  many,  if 
they  are  candid  enough  to  confess  it,  a  certain  degree  of  misology, 
that  is,  hatred  of  reason,  especially  in  the  case  of  those  who  are 
most  experienced  in'  the  use  of  it,  because  after  calculating  all 
the  advantages  they  derive,  I  do  not  say  from  the  invention  of  all 
the  arts  of  common  luxury,  but  even  from  the  sciences  (which 
seem  to  them  to  be  after  all  only  a  luxury  of  the  understanding), 
they  find  that  they  have,  in  fact,  only  brought  more  trouble  on 
their  shoulders,  rather  than  gained  in  happiness ;  and  they  end 
by  envying,  rather  than  despising,  the  more  common  stamp  of 
men  who  keep  closer  to  the  guidance  of  mere  instinct,  and  do 
not  allow  their  reason  much  influence  on  their  conduct.  And 
this  we  must  admit,  that  the  judgment  of  those  who  would  very 


much  lower  the  lofty  eulogies  of  the  advantages  which  reason 
gives  us  in  regard  to  the  happiness  and  satisfaction  of  life,  or 
who  would  even  reduce  them  below  zero,  is  by  no  means  mor<  >se 
or  ungrateful  to  the  goodness  with  which  the  world  is  governed, 
but  that  there  lies  at  the  root  of  these  judgments  the  idea  (15) 
that  our  existence  has  a  different  and  far  nobler  end,  for  which, 
and  not  for  happiness,  reason  is  properly  intended,  and  which 
must,  therefore,  be  regarded  as  the  supreme  condition  to  which 
the  private  ends  of  man  must,  for  the  most  part,  be  postponed. 

For  as  reason  is  not  competent  to  guide  the  will  with  cer 
tainty  in  regard  to  its  objects  and  the  satisfaction  of  all  our 
wants  (which  it  to  some  extent  even  multiplies),  this  being  an 
end  to  which  an  implanted  instinct  would  have  led  with  much 
greater  certainty  ;  and  since,  nevertheless,  reason  is  imparted  to 
us  as  a  practical  faculty,  i.e.  as  one  which  is  to  have  influence  on 
the  will,  therefore,  admitting  that  nature  generally  in  the  dis 
tribution  of  her  capacities  has  adapted  the  means  to  the  end.  its 
true  destination  must  be  to  produce  a  will,  not  merely  good  as 
a  means  to  something  else,  but  yootf  in  itself,  for  which  reason 
was  absolutely  necessary.  This  will  then,  though  not  indeed 
the  sole  and  complete  good,  must  be  the  supreme  good  and  the 
condition  of  every  other,  even  of  the  desire  of  happiness.  Under 
these  circumstances,  there  is  nothing  inconsistent  with  the 
wisdom  of  nature  in  the  fact  that  the  cultivation  of  the  reason, 
which  is  requisite  for  the  first  and  unconditional  purpose,  does 
in  many  ways  interfere,  at  least  in  this  life,  with  the  attainment 
of  the  second,  which  is  always  conditional,  namely,  happiness. 
Xay,  it  may  even  reduce  it  to  nothing,  without  nature  thereby 
failing  of  her  purpose.  For  reason  recognizes  the  establishment 
of  a  good  will  as  its  highest  practical  destination,  and  in 
attaining  this  purpose  is  capable  only  of  a  satisfaction  of  its 
own  proper  kind,  namely,  that  from  the  attainment  of  an  end, 
which  end  again  is  determined  by  reason  only,  notwithstanding 
that  this  may  involve  many  a  disappointment  to  the  end*  of 
inclination  (10). 

We  have  then  to  develop  the  notion  of  a  will  which  deserves 
to  be  highly  esteemed  for  itself,  and  is  good  without  a  view  to 

[17]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  13 

anything  further,  a  notion  which  exists  already  in  the  sound 
natural  understanding,  requiring  rather  to  be  cleared  up  than 
to  be  taught,  and  which  in  estimating  the  value  of  our  actions 
always  takes  the  first  place,  and  constitutes  the  condition  of  all 
the  rest.  In  order  to  do  this,  we  will  take  the  notion  of  duty, 
which  includes  that  of  a  good  will,  although  implying  certain 
subjective  restrictions  and  hindrances.  These,  however,  far 
from  concealing  it,  or  rendering  it  unrecognizable,  rather 
bring  it  out  by  contrast,  and  make  it  shine  forth  so  much 
the  brighter. 

I  omit  here  all  actions  which  are  already  recognized  as 
inconsistent  with  duty,  although  they  may  be  useful  for  this  or 
that  purpose,  for  with  these  the  question  whether  they  are  done 
from  did]/  cannot  arise  at  all,  since  they  even  conflict  with  it.  I 
also  set  aside  those  actions  which  really  conform  to  duty,  but  to 
which  men  have  no  direct  inclination,  performing  them  because 
they  are  impelled  thereto  by  some  other  inclination.  For  in 
this  case  we  can  readily  distinguish  whether  the  action  which 
agrees  with  duty  is  done  from  duty,  or  from  a  selfish  view.  It 
is  much  harder  to  make  this  distinction  when  the  action  accords 
with  duty,  and  the  subject  has  besides  a  direct  inclination  to  it. 
For  example,  it  is  always  a  matter  of  duty  that  a  dealer  should 
not  overcharge  an  inexperienced  purchaser ;  and  wherever  there 
is  much  commerce  the  prudent  tradesman  does  not  overcharge, 
but  keeps  a  fixed  price  for  everyone,  so  that  a  child  buys  of  him 
as  well  as  any  other.  Men  are  thus  honestly  served  ;  but  this  is 
not  enough  to  make  us  believe  that  the  tradesman  has  so  acted 
from  duty  and  from  principles  of  honesty :  his  own  advantage 
required  it ;  it  is  out  of  the  question  in  this  case  to  suppose  that 
he  might  besides  have  a  direct  inclination  in  favour  of  the 
buyers,  so  that  (17),  as  it  were,  from  love  he  should  give  no 
advantage  to  one  over  another.  Accordingly  the  action  was 
done  neither  from  duty  nor  from  direct  inclination,  but  merely 
with  a  selfish  view. 

On  the  other  hand,  it  is  a  duty  to  maintain  one's  life ;  and, 
in  addition,  everyone  has  also  a  direct  inclination  to  do  so.  But 
on  this  account  the  often  anxious  care  which  most  men  take  for 


it  has  no  intrinsic  worth,  and  their  maxim  has  no  moral  import. 
They  preserve  their  life  as  duty  requires,  no  doubt,  but  not 
because  duty  requires.  On  the  other  hand,  if  adversity  and 
hopeless  sorrow  have  completely  t.'ken  away  the  relish  for  life  ; 
if  the  unfortunate  one,  strong  in  mind,  indignant  at  his  fate 
rather  than  desponding  or  dejected,  wishes  for  death,  and  yet 
preserves  his  life  without  loving  it — not  from  inclination  or 
fear,  but  from  duty — then  his  maxim  has  a  moral  worth. 

To  be  beneficent  when  we  can  is  a  duty ;  and  besides  this, 
there  are  'many  minds  so  sympathetically  constituted  that, 
without  any  other  motive  of  vanity  or  self-interest,  they  find  a 
pleasure  in  spreading  joy  around  them,  and  can  take  delight 
in  the  satisfaction  of  others  so  far  as  it  is  their  own  work.  But 
I  maintain  that  in  such  a  case  an  action  of  this  kind,  however 
proper,  however  amiable  it  may  be,  has  nevertheless  no  true  moral 
worth,  but  is  on  a  level  with  other  inclinations,  c.y.  the  inclination 
to  honour,  which,  if  it  is  happily  directed  to  that  which  is  in 
fact  of  public  utility  and  accordant  with  duty,  and  consequently 
honourable,  deserves  praise  and  encouragement,  but  not  esteem. 
For  the  maxim  lacks  the  moral  import,  namely,  that  such 
actions  be  done/row-  duty,  not  from  inclination.  Put  the  case 
that  the  mind  of  that  philanthropist  was  clouded  by  sorrow 
of  his  own  (is),  extinguishing  all  sympathy  with  the  lot  of 
others,  and  that  while  he  still  has  the  power  to  benefit  others  in 
distress,  he  is  not  touched  by  their  trouble  because  he  is 
absorbed  with  his  own  ;  and  now  suppose  that  he  tears  himself 
out  of  this  dead  insensibility,  and  performs  the  action  without 
any  inclination  to  it,  but  simply  from  duty,  then  first  has  his 
action  its  genuine  moral  worth.  Further  still ;  if  nature  has  put 
little  sympathy  in  the  heart  of  this  or  that  man  ;  if  he,  supposed 
to  be  an  upright  man,  is  by  temperament  cold  and  indifferent  to 
the  sufferings  of  others,  perhaps  because  in  respect  of  his  own 
he  is  provided  with  the  special  gift  of  patience  and  fortitude, 
and  supposes,  or  even  requires,  that  others  should  have  the 
same — and  such  a  man  would  certainly  not  be  the  meanest 
product  of  nature — but  if  nature  had  not  specially  framed  him 
for  a  philanthropist,  would  he  not  still  find  in  himself  a  source 

[19]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  15 

from  whence  to  give  himself  a  far  higher  worth  than  that  of  a 
good-natured  temperament  could  be  ?  Unquestionably.  It  is 
just  in  this  that  the  moral  worth  of  the  character  is  brought  out 
which  is  incomparably  the  highest  of  all,  namely,  that  he  is 
beneficent,  not  from  inclination,  but  from  duty. 

To  secure  one's  own  happiness  is  a  duty,  at  least  indirectly ; 
for  discontent  with  one's  condition,  under  a  pressure  of  many 
anxieties  and  amidst  unsatisfied  wants,  might  easily  become  a 
great  temptation  to  trangression  of  duty.  But  here  again,  without 
looking  to  duty,  all  men  have  already  the  strongest  and  most 
intimate  inclination  to  happiness,  because  it  is  just  in  this  idea 
that  all  inclinations  are  combined  in  one  total.  But  the  precept 
of  happiness  is  often  of  such  a  sort  that  it  greatly  interferes  with 
some  inclinations,  and  yet  a  man  cannot  form  any  definite  and 
certain  conception  of  the  sum  of  satisfaction  of  all  of  them 
which  is  called  happiness  (19).  It  is  not  then  to  be  wondered 
at  that  a  single  inclination,  definite  both  as  to  what  it  promises 
and  as  to  the  time  within  which  it  can  be  gratified,  is  often  able 
to  overcome  such  a  fluctuating  idea,  and  that  a  gouty  patient, 
for  instance,  can  choose  to  enjoy  what  he  likes,  and  to  suffer 
what  he  may,  since,  according  to  his  calculation,  on  this  occasion 
at  least,  he  has  [only]  not  sacrificed  the  enjoyment  of  the 
present  moment  to  a  possibly  mistaken  expectation  of  a  happiness 
which  is  supposed  to  be  found  in  health.  But  even  in  this 
case,  if  the  general  desire  for  happiness  did  not  influence  his 
will,  and  supposing  that  in  his  particular  case  health  was  not  a 
necessary  element  in  this  calculation,  there  yet  remains  in  this, 
as  in  all  other  cases,  this  law,  namely,  that  he  should  promote 
his  happiness  not  from  inclination  but  from  duty,  and  by  this 
would  his  conduct  first  acquire  true  moral  worth. 

It  is  in  this  manner,  undoubtedly,  that  we  are  to  understand 
those  passages  of  Scripture  also  in  which  we  are  commanded  to 
love  our  neighbour,  even  our  enemy.  For  love,  as  an  affection, 
cannot  be  commanded,  but  beneficence  for  duty's  sake  may; 
even  though  we  are  not  impelled  to  it  by  any  inclination — nay, 
are  even  repelled  by  a  natural  and  unconquerable  aversion.  This 
is  practical  love,  and  not  pathological — a  love  which  is  seated  in 


the  will,  and  not  in  the  propensions  of  sense — in  principles  of 
action  and  not  of  tender  sympathy ;  and  it  is  this  love  alone 
which  can  be  commanded. 

The  second1  proposition  is :  That  an  action  done  from  duty 
derives  its  moral  worth,  not  from  the  purpose  which  is  to  be 
attained  by  it,  but  from  the  maxim  by  which  it  is  determined, 
and  therefore  does  not  depend  on  the  realization  of  the  object  of 
the  action,  but  merely  on  the  principle  of  volition  by  which  the 
actioji  has  taken  place,  without  regard  to  any  object  of  desire  (20). 
It  is  clear  from  what  precedes  that  the  purposes  which  we  may 
have  in  view  in  our  actions,  or  their  effects  regarded  as  ends  and 
springs  of  the  will,  cannot  give  to  actions  any  unconditional  or 
moral  worth.  In  what,  then,  can  their  worth  lie,  if  it  is  not  to 
consist  in  the  will  and  in  reference  to  its  expected  effect  ?  It 
cannot  lie  anywhere  but  in  the  principle  of  tlic  will  without 
regard  to  the  ends  which  can  be  attained  by  the  action.  For 
the  will  stands  between  its  a  priori  principle,  which  is  formal, 
and  its  u  posteriori  spring,  which  is  material,  as  between  two 
roads,  and  as  it  must  be  determined  by  something,  it  follows 
that  it  must  be  determined  by  the  formal  principle  of  volition 
when  an  action  is  done  from  duty,  in  which  case  every  material 
principle  has  been  withdrawn  from  it. 

The  third  proposition,  which  is  a  consequence  of  the  two 
preceding,  I  would  express  thus :  Duty  is  the  necessity  of  acting 
from  respect  for  the  /«.?'/.  I  may  have  inclination  for  an  object 
as  the  effect  of  my  proposed  action,  but  I  cannot  have  respect 
for  it,  just  for  this  reason,  that  it  is  an  effect  and  not  an  energy 
of  will.  Similarly,  I  cannot  have  respect  for  inclination,  whether 
my  own  or  another's ;  I  can  at  most,  if  my  own,  approve  it ;  if 
another's,  sometimes  even  love  it ;  i.e.  look  on  it  as  favourable 
to  my  own  interest.  It  is  only  what  is  connected  with  my  will 
as  a  principle,  by  no  means  as  an  effect — what  does  not  subserve 
my  inclination,  but  overpowers  it,  or  at  least  in  case  of  choice 
excludes  it  from  its  calculation — in  other  words,  simply  the  law 

1  [The  first  proposition  was  that  to  have  moral  worth  an  action  must  be 
done  from  duty.] 

[22]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  17 

of  itself,  which  can  be  an  object  of  respect,  and  hence  a  com 
mand.  Now  an  action  done  from  duty  must  wholly  exclude 
the  influence  of  inclination,  and  with  it  every  object  of  the  will, 
so  that  nothing  remains  which  can  determine  the  will  except 
objectively  the  law,  and  subjectively  pure  respect  (21)  for  this 
practical  law,  and  consequently  the  maxim1  that  I  should  follow 
this  law  even  to  the  thwarting  of  all  my  inclinations. 

Thus  the  moral  worth  of  an  action  does  not  lie  in  the  effect 
expected  from  it,  nor  in  any  principle  of  action  which  requires 
to  borrow  its  motive  from  this  expected  effect.  For  all  these 
effects — agreeableness  of  one's  condition,  and  even  the  promo 
tion  of  the  happiness  of  others — could  have  been  also  brought 
about  by  other  causes,  so  that  for  this  there  would  have  been  no 
need  of  the  will  of  a  rational  being ;  whereas  it  is  in  this  alone 
that  the  supreme  and  unconditional  good  can  be  found.  The 
pre-eminent  good  which  we  call  moral  can  therefore  consist  in 
nothing  else  than  tie  conception  of  law  in  itself,  which  certainly 
is  only  possible  in  a  rational  l)cin<j,  in  so  far  as  this  conception, 
and  not  the  expected  effect,  determines  the  will.  This  is  a 
good  which  is  already  present  in  the  person  who  acts  accord 
ingly,  and  we  have  not  to  wait  for  it  to  appear  first  in  the 
result2  (22). 

But  what  sort  of  law  can  that  be,  the  conception  of  which 
must  determine  the  will,  even  without  paying  any  regard  to  the 

1 A  maxim  is  the  subjective  principle  of  volition.  The  objective 
principle  (i.  e.  that  which  would  also  serve  subjectively  as  a  practical 
principle  to  all  rational  beings  if  reason  had  full  power  over  the  faculty 
of  desire)  is  the  practical  law. 

-It  might  be  here  objected  to  me  that  I  take  refuge  behind  the  word 
respect  in  an  obscure  feeling,  instead  of  giving  a  distinct  solution  of  the 
question  by  a  concept  of  the  reason.  But  although  respect  is  a  feeling,  it  is 
not  a  feeling  received  through  influence,  but  is  self-trrowjht  by  a  rational 
concept,  and,  therefore,  is  specifically  distinct  from  all  feelings  of  the  former 
kind,  which  may  be  referred  either  to  inclination  or  fear.  What  I  recog 
nize!  immediately  as  a  law  for  me,  I  recognize  with  respect.  This  merely 
signifies  the  consciousness  that  my  will  is  subordinate  to  a  law,  without  the 
intervention  of  other  influences  on  my  sense.  The  immediate  determination 
of  the  will  by  the  law,  and  the  consciousness  of  this,  is  called  respect,  so  that 



effect  expected  from  it,  in  order  that  this  will  may  be  called 
good  absolutely  and  without  qualification  ?  As  I  have  deprived 
the  will  of  every  impulse  which  could  arise  to  it  from  obedience 
to  any  law,  there  remains  nothing  but  the  universal  conformity 
of  its  actions  to  law  in  general,  which  alone  is  to  serve  the  will 
as  a  principle,  i.  c.  I  am  never  to  act  otherwise  than  so  that  1 
could  also  will  that  my  maxim  should  become  a  universal  la  v.  Here, 
now,  it  is  the  simple  conformity  to  law  in  general,  without 
assuming  any  particular  law  applicable  to  certain  actions,  that 
serves  the  will  as  its  principle,  and  must  so  serve  it,  if  duty  is 
not  to  be  a  vain  delusion  and  a  chimerical  notion.  The  common 
reason  of  men  in  its  practical  judgments  perfectly  coincides  with 
this,  and  always  has  in  view  the  principle  here  suggested.  Let 
the  question  be,  for  example  :  May  I  when  in  distress  make  a 
promise  with  the  intention  not  to  keep  it  ?  I  readily  distin 
guish  here  between  the  two  significations  which  the  question 
may  have  :  Whether  it  is  prudent  (23),  or  whether  it  is  right,  to 
make  a  false  promise  ?  The  former  may  undoubtedly  often  be 
the  case.  I  see  clearly  indeed  that  it  is  not  enough  to  extricate 
myself  from  a  present  difficulty  by  means  of  this  subterfuge, 
but  it  must  be  well  considered  whether  there  may  not  hereafter 
spring  from  this  lie  much  greater  inconvenience  than  that  from 
which  I  now  free  myself,  and  as,  with  all  my  supposed  cunninf/, 
the  consequences  cannot  be  so  easily  foreseen  but  that  credit 

this  is  regarded  as  an  effect  of  the  law  on  the  subject,  and  not  as  the  cause 
of  it.  Respect  is  properly  the  (22)  conception  of  a  worth  which  thwarts 
my  self-love.  Accordingly  it  is  something  which  is  considered  neither  as 
an  object  of  inclination  nor  of  fear,  although  it  has  something  analogous 
to  both.  The  object  of  respect  is  the  laiv  only,  and  that,  the  law  which 
we  impose  on  ourkelvcs,  and  yet  recognize  as  necessary  in  itself.  As  a  law, 
we  are  subjected  to  it  without  consulting  self-love  ;  as  imposed  by  us  on 
ourselves,  it  is  a  result  of  our  will.  In  the  former  aspect  it  has  an  analogy 
to  fear,  in  the  latter  to  inclination.  Respect  for  a  person  is  properly  only 
respect  for  the  law  (of  honesty,  &c.)  of  which  he  gives  us  an  example. 
Since  we  also  look  on  the  improvement  of  our  talents  as  a  duty,  we  con 
sider  that  we  see  in  a  person  of  talents,  as  it  were,  the  example  of  a  law 
(viz.  to  become  like  him  in  this  by  exercise),  and  this  constitutes  our 
respect.  All  so-called  moral  interest  consists  simply  in  respect  for  the  law. 

[24]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  19 

once  lost  may  be  much  more  injurious  to  me  than  any  mischief 
which  I  seek  to  avoid  at  present,  it  should  be  considered  whether 
it  would  not  be  more  priident  to  act  herein  according  to  a  uni 
versal  maxim,  and  to  make  it  a  habit  to  promise  nothing  except 
with  the  intention  of  keeping  it.  But  it  is  soon  clear  to  me  that 
such  a  maxim  will  still  only  be  based  on  the  fear  of  conse 
quences.  Now  it  is  a  wholly  different  thing  to  be  truthful  from 
duty,  and  to  be  so  from  apprehension  of  injurious  consequences. 
In  the  first  case,  the  very  notion  of  the  action  already  implies  a 
law  for  me ;  in,  the  second  case,  I  must  first  look  about  elsewhere 
to  see  what  results  may  be  combined  with  it  which  would  affect 
myself.  For  to  deviate  from  the  principle  of  duty  is  beyond  all 
doubt  wicked ;  but  to  be  unfaithful  to  my  maxim  of  prudence 
may  often  be  very  advantageous  to  me,  although  to  abide  by  it 
is  certainly  safer.  The  shortest  way,  however,  and  an  unerring 
one,  to  discover  the  answer  to  this  question  whether  a  lying 
promise  is  consistent  with  duty,  is  to  ask  myself,  Should  I  be 
content  that  my  maxim  (to  extricate  myself  from  difficulty  by 
a  false  promise)  should  hold  good  as  a  universal  law',  for  myself 
as  well  as  for  others  ?  and  should  I  be  able  to  say  to  myself, 
"  Every  one  may  make  a  deceitful  promise  when  he  finds  him 
self  in  a  difficulty  from  which  he  cannot  otherwise  extricate 
himself "  ?  (24)  Then  I  presently  become  aware  that  while  I 
can  will  the  lie,  I  can  by  no  means  will  that  lying  should  be  a 
universal  law.  For  with  such  a  law  there  would  be  no  promises 
at  all,  since  it  would  be  in  vain  to  allege  my  intention  in  regard 
to  my  future  actions  to  those  who  would  not  believe  this  allega 
tion,  or  if  they  over-hastily  did  so,  would  pay  me  back  in  my 
own  coin.  Hence  my  maxim,  as  soon  as  it  should  be  made  a 
universal  law,  would  necessarily  destroy  itself. 

I  do  not,  therefore,  need  any  far-reaching  penetration  to 
discern  what  1  have  to  do  in  order  that  my  will  may  be 
morally  good.  Inexperienced  in  the  course  of  the  world,  in 
capable  of  being  prepared  for  all  its  contingencies,  I  only  ask 
myself:  Canst  thou  also  will  that  thy  maxim  should  be  a 
universal  law  *.  If  not,  then  it  must  be  rejected,  and  that  not 
because  of  a  disadvantage  accruing  from  it  to  myself  or  even  to 



others,  but  because  it  cannot  enter  as  a  principle  into  a  possible 
universal  legislation,  and  reason  extorts  from  me  immediate  re 
spect  for  such  legislation.  I  do  not  indeed  as  yet  (fixccrn  on  what 
this  respect  is  based  (this  the  philosopher  may  inquire),  but  at 
least  1  understand  this,  that  it  is  an  estimation  of  the  worth 
which  far  outweighs  all  worth  of  what  is  recommended  by 
inclination,  and  that  the  necessity  of  acting  from  -pure  respect 
for  the  practical  law  is  what  constitutes  duty,  to  which  every 
other  motive  must  give  place,  because  it  is  the  condition  of  a 
will  being  good  in  itself,  and  the  worth  of  such  a  will  is  above 

Thus,  then,  without  quitting  the  moral  knowledge  of 
common  human  reason,  we  have  arrived  at  its  principle.  And 
although,  no  doubt,  common  men  do  not  conceive  it  in  such  an 
abstract  and  universal  form,  yet  they  always  have  it  really 
before  their  eyes,  and  use  it  as  the  standard  of  their  decision. 
Here  it  would  be  easy  to  show  how,  with  this  compass  in 
hand  (•_>,")),  men  are  well  able  to  distinguish,  in  every  case  that 
occurs,  what  is  good,  what  bad,  conformably  to  duty  or  incon 
sistent  with  it,  if,  without  in  the  least  teaching  them  anything 
new,  we  only,  like  Socrates,  direct  their  attention  to  the  principle 
they  themselves  employ  ;  and  that,  therefore,  we  do  not  need 
science  and  philosophy  to  know  what  we  should  do  to  be  honest 
and  good,  yea,  even  wise  and  virtuous.  Indeed  we  might  well 
have  conjectured  beforehand  that  the  knowledge  of  what  every 
man  is  bound  to  do,  and  therefore  also  to  know,  would  be  within 
the  reach  of  every  man,  even  the  commonest.1  Here  we  cannot 
forbear  admiration  when  we  see  how  great  an  advantage  the 
practical  judgment  has  over  the  theoretical  in  the  common  un 
derstanding  of  men.  In  the  latter,  if  common  reason  ventures 
to  depart  from  the  laws  of  experience  and  from  the  perceptions 
of  the  senses,  it  falls  inio  mere  inconceivabilities  and  self-con 
tradictions,  at  least  into  a  chaos  of  uncertainty,  obscurity,  and 

;  [Compare  the  note  to  the  preface  to  the  Criti<[nc  «/  the  I'ntciical 
7?<'(iSuH,p.lll.  A  specimen  of  Kiuit's  proposed  application  of  the  Socratic 
method  may  be  found  in  Mr.  Semple's  translation  of  the  Mct('t>hijsic  of 
Ethics,  p.  2W.] 

[26]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  21 

instability.  But  in  the  practical  sphere  it  is  just  \vhen  the 
common  understanding  excludes  all  sensible  springs  from  prac 
tical  laws  that  its  power  of  judgment  begins  to  show  itself  to 
advantage.  It  then  becomes  even  subtle,  whether  it  be  that  it 
chicanes  with  its  own  conscience  or  with  other  claims  respecting 
what  is  to  be  called  right,  or  whether  it  desires  for  its  own 
instruction  to  determine  honestly  the  worth  of  actions;  and,  in 
the  latter  case,  it  may  even  have  as  good  a  hope  of  hitting  the 
mark  as  any 'philosopher  whatever  can  promise  himself.  Nay, 
it  is  almost  more  sure  of  doing  so,  because  the  philosopher 
cannot  have  any  other  principle,  while  he  may  easily  perplex 
his  judgment  by  a  multitude  of  considerations  foreign  to  the 
matter,  and  so  turn  aside  from  the  right  way.  Would  it  not 
therefore  be  wiser  in  moral  concerns  to  acquiesce  in  the  judg 
ment  of  common  reason  (20),  or  at  most  only  to  call  in  philosophy 
for  the  purpose  of  rendering  the  system  of  morals  more  complete 
and  intelligible,  and  its  rules  more  convenient  for  use  (especially 
for  disputation),  but  not  so  as  to  draw  off  the  common  under 
standing  from  its  happy  simplicity,  or  to  bring  it  by  means  of 
philosophy  into  a  new  path  of  inquiry  and  instruction  ? 

Innocence  is  indeed  a  glorious  thing,  only,  on  the  other 
hand,  it  is  very  sad  that  it  cannot  well  maintain  itself,  and  is 
easily  seduced.  On  this  account  even  wisdom — which  other 
wise  consists  more  in  conduct  than  in  knowledge — yet  has  need 
of  science,  not  in  order  to  learn  from  it,  but  to  secure  for  its 
precepts  admission  and  permanence.  Against  all  the  commands 
of  duty  which  reason  represents  to  man  as  so  deserving  of 
respect,  he  feels  in  himself  a  powerful  counterpoise  in  his  wants 
and  inclinations,  the  entire  satisfaction  of  which  he  sums  up 
under  the  name  of  happiness.  Now  reason  issues  its  commands 
unyieldingly,  witliout  promising  any  tiling  to  the  inclinations, 
and,  as  it  were,  with  disregard  and  contempt  for  these  claims, 
which  are  so  impetuous,  and  at  the  same  time  so  plausible,  and 
which  will  not  allow  themselves  to  be  suppressed  by  any  com 
mand.  Hence  there  arises  a  natural  dialectic,  i.e.  a  disposition, 
to  argue  against  these  strict  laws  of  duty  and  to  question  their 
validity,  or  at  least  their  purity  and  strictness ;  and,  if  possible, 


to  make  them  more  accordant  with  our  wishes  and  inclinations, 
that  is  to  say,  to  corrupt  them  at  their  very  source,  and  entirely 
to  destroy  their  worth — a  thing  which  even  common  practical 
reason  cannot  ultimately  call  good. 

Thus  is  the  common  reason  of  man  compelled  to  go  out  of  its 
sphere,  and  to  take  a  step  into  the  field  of  '^practical  philosophy, 
not  to  satisfy  any  speculative  want  (which  never  occurs  to  it  as 
long  as  it  is  content  to  be  mere  sound  reason),  but  even  on  prac 
tical  grounds  (27),  in  order  to  attain  in  it  information  and  clear 
instruction  respecting  the  source  of  its  principle,  and  the  correct 
determination  of  it  in  opposition  to  the  maxims  which  are  based 
on  wants  and  inclinations,  so  that  it  may  escape  from  the  per 
plexity  of  opposite  claims,  and  not  run  the  risk  of  losing  all 
genuine  moral  principles  through  the  equivocation  into  which 
it  easily  falls.  Thus,  when  practical  reason  cultivates  itself, 
there  insensibly  arises  in  it  a  dialectic  which  forces  it  to  seek 
aid  in  philosophy,  just  as  happens  to  it  in  its  theoretic  use ; 
and  in  this  case,  therefore,  as  well  as  in  the  other,  it  will  tind 
rest  nowhere  but  in  a  thorough  critical  examination  of  our 




IF  we  have  hitherto  drawn  our  notion  of  duty  from  the  com 
mon  use  of  our  practical  reason,  it  is  by  no  means  to  be  inferred 
that  we  have  treated  it  as  an  empirical  notion.  On  the  con 
trary,  if  we  attend  to  the  experience  of  men's  conduct,  we 
meet  frequent  and,  as  we  ourselves  allow,  just  complaints  that 
one  cannot  find  a  single  certain  example  of  the  disposition  to 
act  from  pure  duty.  Although  many  things  are  done  in  confor 
mity  with  what  duty  prescribes,  it  is  nevertheless  always  doubtful 
whether  they  are  done  strictly  from  duty,  so  as  to  have  a  moral 
worth.  Hence  there  have  at  all  times  been  philosophers  who 
have  altogether  denied  that  this  disposition  actually  exists  at  all 
in  human  actions,  and  have  ascribed  everything  to  a  more  or 
less  refined  self-love.  Not  that  they  have  on  that  account 
questioned  the  soundness  of  the  conception  of  morality ;  on  the 
contrary,  they  spoke  with  sincere  regret  of  the  frailty  and  cor 
ruption  of  human  nature,  which  though  noble  enough  to  take 
as  its  rule  an  idea  so  worthy  of  respect,  is  yet  too  weak  to 
follow  it,  and  employs  reason,  which  ought  to  give  it  the  law  (29) 
only  for  the  purpose  of  providing  for  the  interest  of  the 
inclinations,  whether  singly  or  at  the  best  in  the  greatest 
possible  harmony  with  one  another. 

In  fact,  it  is  absolutely  impossible  to  make  out  by  expe 
rience  with  complete  certainty  a  single  case  in  which  the 
maxim  of  an  action,  however  right  in  itself,  rested  simply  on 
moral  grounds  and  on  the  conception  of  duty.  Sometimes  it 
happens  that  with  the  sharpest  self-examination  we  can  find 
nothing  beside  the  moral  principle  of  duty  which  could  have 
been  powerful  enough  to  move  us  to  this  or  that  action  and  to 
so  great  a  sacrifice  ;  yet  we  cannot  from  this  infer  with  certainty 


that  it  was  not  really  some  secret  impulse  of  self-love,  under  the 
false  appearance  of  duty,  that  was  the  actual  determining  cause 
of  the  will.  We  like  then  to  flatter  ourselves  by  falseh  taking 
credit  for  a  more  noble  motive ;  whereas  in  fact  we  can  never, 
even  by  the  strictest  examination,  get  completely  behind  the 
secret  springs  of  action ;  since,  when  the  question  is  of  moral 
worth,  it  is  not  with  the  actions  which  we  see  that  we  are 
concerned,  but  with  those  inward  principles  of  them  which  we 
do  not  see. 

Moreover,  we  cannot  better  serve  the  wishes  of  those  who 
ridicule  all  morality  as  a  mere  chimera  of  human  imagination 
overstepping  itself  from  vanity,  than  by  conceding  to  them  that 
notions  of  duty  must  be  drawn  only  from  experience  (as  from 
indolence,  people  are  ready  to  think  is  also  the  case  with  all 
other  notions) ;  for  this  is  to  prepare  for  them  a  certain  triumph. 
I  am  willing  to  admit  out  of  love  of  humanity  that  even  most 
of  our  actions  are  correct,  but  if  we  look  closer  at  them  we  every 
where  come  upon  the  dear  self  which  is  always  prominent,  and 
it  is  this  they  have  in  view,  and  not  the  strict  command  of  duty 
which  would  often  require  self-denial  (30).  Without  being  an 
enemy  of  virtue,  a  cool  observer,  one  that  does  not  mistake  the 
wish  for  good,  however  lively,  for  its  reality,  may  sometimes 
doubt  whether  true  virtue  is  actually  found  anywhere  in  the 
world,  and  this  especially  as  years  increase  and  the  judgment  is 
partly  made  wiser  by  experience,  and  partly  also  more  acute  in 
observation.  This  being  so,  nothing  can  secure  us  from  falling 
away  altogether  from  our  ideas  of  duty,  or  maintain  in  the  soul 
a  well-grounded  respect  for  its  law,  but  the  clear  conviction  that 
although  there  should  never  have  been  actions  which  really 
sprang  from  such  pure  sources,  yet  whether  this  or  that  takes 
place  is  not  at  all  the  question  ;  but  that  reason  of  itself,  inde 
pendent  on  all  experience,  ordains  what  ought  to  take  place, 
that  accordingly  actions  of  which  perhaps  the  world  has  hitherto 
never  given  an  example,  the  feasibility  even  of  which  might  be 
very  much  doubted  by  one  who  founds  everything  on  expe 
rience,  are  nevertheless  inllcxibly  commanded  by  reason ;  that, 
ex.  (jr.,  even  though  there  might  never  yet  have  been  a  sincere 

[3l]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MOKALS.  25 

friend,  yet  not  a  whit  the  less  is  pure  sincerity  in  friendship 
required  of  every  man,  because,  prior  to  all  experience,  this 
duty  is  involved  as  duty  in  the  idea  of  a  reason  determining 
the  will  by  d  priori  principles. 

When  we  add  further  that,  unless  we  deny  that  the  notion 
of  morality  has  any  truth  or  reference  to  any  possible  object,  we 
must  admit  that  its  law  must  be  valid,  not  merely  for  men.  but 
for  all  rational  ercatvres  generally,  not  merely  under  certain  con 
tingent  conditions  or  with  exceptions,  but  with  absolute  necessity, 
then  it  is  clear  that  no  experience  could  enable  us  to  infer  even 
the  possibility  of  such  apodictic  laws  (31).  For  with  what  right 
could  we  bring  into  unbounded  respect  as  a  universal  precept 
for  every  rational  nature  that  which  perhaps  holds  only  under 
the  contingent  conditions  of  humanity  ?  Or  how  could  laws  of 
the  determination  of  our  will  be  regarded  as  laws  of  the  deter 
mination  of  the  will  of  rational  beings  generally,  and  for  us 
only  as  such,  if  they  were  merely  empirical,  and  did  not  take 
their  origin  wholly  d  priori  from  pure  but  practical  reason )  , 

Jsor  could  anything  be  more  fatal  to  morality  than  that  we 
should  wish  to  derive  it  from  examples.  For  every  example  of 
it  that  is  set  before  me  must  be  first  itself  tested  by  principles 
of  morality,  whether  it  is  worthy  to  serve  as  an  original  example, 
i.e.  as  a  pattern,  but  by  nc  means  can  it  authoritatively  furnish 
the  conception  of  morality.  Even  the  Holy  One  of  the  Gospels 
must  first  be  compared  with  our  ideal  of  moral  perfection  before 
we  can  recognize  Him  as  such ;  and  so  He  says  of  Himself, 
"  Why  call  ye  Me  [whom  you  see]  good ;  none  is  good  [the 
model  of  good]  but  God  only  [whom  ye  do  not  see]  ? "  But 
whence  have  we  the  conception  of  God  as  the  supreme  good  ? 
Simply  from  the  idea  of  moral  perfection,  which  reason  frames 
d  priori,  and  connects  inseparably  with  the  notion  of  a  free  will. 
Imitation  finds  no  place  at  all  in  morality,  and  examples  serve 
only  for  encouragement,  i.e.  they  put  beyond  doubt  the  feasi 
bility  of  what  the  law  commands,  they  make  visible  that  which 
the  practical  rule  expresses  more  generally,  but  they  can  never 
authorize  us  to  set  aside  the  true  original  which  lies  in  reason, 
and  to  guide  ourselves  by  examples. 


If  then  there  is  no  genuine  supreme  principle  of  morality 
but  what  must  rest  simply  on  pure  reason,  independent  on  all 
experience,  I  think  it  is  not  necessary  even  to  put  the  question, 
whether  it  is  good  (32)  to  exhibit  these  concepts  in  their  gene 
rality  (in  abstracto)  as  they  are  established  d  priori  along  with 
the  principles  belonging  to  them,  if  our  knowledge  is  to  be 
distinguished  from  the  vulgar,  and  to  be  called  philosophical. 
In  our  times  indeed  this  might  perhaps  be  necessary ;  for  if  we 
collected  votes,  whether  pure  rational  knowledge  separated  from 
everything  empirical,  that  is  to  say,  metaphysic  of  morals,  or 
whether  popular  practical  philosophy  is  to  be  preferred,  it  is 
easy  to  guess  which  side  would  preponderate. 

This  descending  to  popular  notions  is  certainly  very  com 
mendable,  if  the  ascent  to  the  principles  of  pure  reason  has  first 
taken  place  and  been  satisfactorily  accomplished.  This  implies 
that  we  first  found  Ethics  on  Metaphysics,  and  then,  when  it  is 
firmly  established,  procure  a  hearing  for  it  by  giving  it  a  popular 
character.  But  it  is  quite  absurd  to  try  to  be  popular  in  the 
first  inquiry,  on  which  the  soundness  of  the  principles  depends. 
It  is  not  only  that  this  proceeding  can  never  lay  claim  to  the 
very  rare  merit  of  a  true  philosophical  popularity,  since  there  is 
no  art  in  being  intelligible  if  one  renounces  all  thoroughness  of 
insight ;  but  also  it  produces  a  disgusting  medley  of  compiled 
observations  and  half-reasoned  principles.  Shallow  pates  enjoy 
this  because  it  can  be  used  for  every-day  chat,  but  the  sagacious 
find  in  it  only  confusion,  and  being  unsatisfied  and  unable  to 
help  themselves,  they  turn  away  their  eyes,  while  philosophers, 
who  see  quite  well  through  this  delusion,  are  little  listened  to 
when  they  call  men  off  for  a  time  from  this  pretended  popu 
larity,  in  order  that  they  might  be  rightfully  popular  after  they 
have  attained  a  definite  insight. 

We  need  only  look  at  the  attempts  of  moralists  in  that 
favourite  fashion,  and  we  shall  find  at  one  time  the  special 
constitution  of  human  nature  (33)  (including,  however,  the  idea 
of  a  rational  nature  generally),  at  one  time  perfection,  at 
another  happiness,  here  moral  sense,  there  fear  of  God,  a  little 
of  this;  and  a  little  of  that,  in  marvellous  mixture,  without  its 


occurring  to  them  to  ask  whether  the  principles  of  morality  are 
to  be  sought  in  the  knowledge  of  human  nature  at  all  (which  we 
can  have  only  from  experience) ;  and,  if  this  is  not  so,  if  these 
principles  are  to  be  found  altogether  d  priori  free  from  every 
thing  empirical,  in  pure  rational  concepts  only,  and  nowhere 
else,  not  even  in  the  smallest  degree ;  then  rather  to  adopt  the 
method  of  making  this  a  separate  inquiry,  as  pure  practical 
philosophy,  or  (if  one  may  use  a  name  so  decried)  as  metaphysic 
of  morals,1  to  bring  it  by  itself  to  completeness,  and  to  require 
the  public,  which  wishes  for  popular  treatment,  to  await  the 
issue  of  this  undertaking. 

Such  a  metaphysic  of  morals,  completely  isolated,  not  mixed 
with  any  anthropology,  theology,  physics,  or  hyperphysics,  and 
still  less  with  occult  qualities  (which  we  might  call  hypophysical), 
is  not  only  an  indispensable  substratum  of  all  sound  theoretical 
knowledge  of  duties,  but  is  at  the  same  time  a  desideratum  of 
the  highest  importance  to  the  actual  fulfilment  of  their  precepts. 
For  the  pure  conception  of  duty,  unmixed  with  any  foreign 
addition  of  empirical  attractions  (34),  and,  in  a  word,  the 
conception  of  the  moral  law,  exercises  on  the  human  heart,  by 
way  of  reason  alone  (which  first  becomes  aware  with  this  that  it 
can  of  itself  be  practical),  an  influence  so  much  more  powerful 
than  all  other  springs2  whiclr  may  be  derived  from  the  field  of 
experience,  that  in  the  consciousness  of  its  worth,  it  despises 
the  latter,  and  can  by  degrees  become  their  master  ;  whereas  a 
mixed  ethics,  compounded  partly  of  motives  drawn  from  feelings 
and  inclinations,  and  partly  also  of  conceptions  of  reason,  must 

1  Just  as  pure  mathematics  are  distinguished  from  applied,  pure  logic 
from  applied,  so  if  we  choose  we  may  also  distinguish  pure  philosophy  of 
morals  (metaphysic)  from  applied  (viz.  applied  to  human  nature).  By  this 
designation  we  are  also  at  once  reminded  that  moral  principles  are  not 
based   on   properties   of   human   nature,   but   must  subsist   a  priori,  of 
themselves,  while  from  such  principles  practical  rules  must  be  capable  of 
being  deduced  for  every  rational  nature,  and  accordingly  for  that  of  man. 

2  I  have  a  letter  from  the  late  excellent  Sulzer,  in  which  he  asks  me 
what  can  be  the  reason  that  moral  instruction,  although  containing  much 
that  is  convincing  for  the  reason,  yet  accomplishes  so  little  ?  My  answer 
was  postponed  in  order  that  I  might  make  it  complete.     But  it  is  simply 


make  the  mind  waver  between  motives  which  cannot  he  brought 
under  any  principle,  which  lead  to  good  only  by  mere  accident, 
And  very  often  also  to  evil. 

From  what  has  been  said,  it  is  clear  that  all  moral  con 
ceptions  have  their  seat  and  origin  completely  a  priori  in  the 
reason,  and  that,  moreover,  in  the  commonest  reason  just  as  truly 
as  in  that  which  is  in  the  highest  degree  speculative ;  that  they 
cannot  be  obtained  by  abstraction  from  any  empirical,  and 
therefore  merely  contingent  knowledge ;  that  it  is  just  this  purity 
of  their  origin  that  makes  them  worthy  to  serve  as  our  supreme 
practical  principle  (35),  and  that  just  in  proportion  as  we  add 
anything  empirical,  we  detract  from  their  genuine  influence,  and 
from  the  absolute  value  of  actions ;  that  it  is  not  only  of  the 
greatest  necessity,  in  a  purely  speculative  point  of  view,  but  is  also 
of  the  greatest  practical  importance,  to  derive  these  notions  and 
laws  from  pure  reason,  to  present  them  pure  and  unmixed,  and 
even  to  determine  the  compass  of  this  practical  or  pure  rational 
knowledge,  i.e.  to  determine  the  whole  faculty  of  pure  practical 
reason  ;  and,  in  doing  so,  we  must  not  make  its  principles 
dependent  on  the  particular  nature  of  human  reason,  though  in 
speculative  philosophy  this  may  be  permitted,  or  may  even  at 
times  be  necessary ;  but  since  moral  laws  ought  to  hold  good  for 
every  rational  creature,  we  must  derive  them  from  the  general 
concept  of  a  rational  being.  In  this  way,  although  for  its 
application  to  man  morality  has  need  of  anthropology,  yet,  in 
the  first  instance,  we  must  treat  it  independently  as  pure 

this,  that  the  teachers  themselves  have  not  got  their  own  notions  clear, 
and  when  they  endeavour  to  make  up  for  this  by  raking  up  motives  of 
moral  goodness  from  every  quarter,  trying  to  make  their  physic  right 
strong,  they  spoil  it.  For  the  commonest  understanding  shows  that  if 
we  imagine,  on  the  one  hand,  an  act  of  honesty  done  with  steadfast  mind, 
aparfc  from  every  view  to  advantage  of  any  kind  in  this  world  or  another, 
and  even  under  the  greatest  temptations  of  necessity  or  allurement,  and, 
on  the  other  hand,  a  similar  act  which  was  affected,  in  however  low  a 
degree,  by  a  foreign  motive,  the  former  leaves  far  behind  and  eclipses  the 
second ;  it  elevates  the  soul,  and  inspires  the  wish  to  be  able  to  act  in  like 
manner  oneself.  Even  moderately  young  children  feel  this  impression, 
and  one  should  never  represent  duties  to  them  in  any  other  light. 

[36]  METAPHYSIC    OF   MOKALS.  29 

philosophy,  i.e.  as  metaphysic,  complete  in  itself  (a  thing  which 
in  such  distinct  branches  of  science  is  easily  done) ;  knowing 
well  that  unless  we  are  in  possession  of  this,  it  would  not  only  be 
vain  to  determine  the  moral  element  of  duty  in  right  actions 
for  purposes  of  speculative  criticism,  but  it  would  be  impossible 
to  base  morals  on  their  genuine  principles,  even  for  common 
practical  purposes,  especially  of  moral  instruction,  so  as  to 
produce  pure  moral  dispositions,  and  to  engraft  them  on  men's 
minds  to  the  promotion  of  the  greatest  possible  good  in  the  world. 

But  in  order  that  in  this  study  we  may  not  merely  advance 
by  the  natural  steps  from  the  common  moral  judgment  (in  this 
case  very  worthy  of  respect)  to  the  philosophical,  as  has  been 
already  done,  but  also  from  a  popular  philosophy,  which  goes  no 
further  than  it  can  reach  by  groping  with  the  help  of  examples, 
to  metaphysic  (which  does  not  allow  itself  to  be  checked  by 
anything  empirical  (SG),  and  as  it  must  measure  the  whole  extent 
of  this  kind  of  rational  knowledge,  goes  as  far  as  ideal  concep 
tions,  where  even  examples  fail  us),  we  must  follow  and 
clearly  describe  the  practical  faculty  of  reason,  from  the  general 
rules  of  its  determination  to  the  point  where  the  notion  of 
duty  springs  from  it. 

Everything  in  nature  works  according  to  laws.  Rational 
beings  alone  have  the  faculty  of  acting  according  to  the  conception 
of  laws,  that  is  according  to  principles,  i.e.  have  a  u*iH.  Since 
the  deduction  of  actions  from  principles  requires  recson,  the 
will  is  nothing  but  practical  reason.  If  reason  infallibly 
determines  the  will,  then  the  actions  of  such  a  being  which  are 
recognized  as  objectively  necessary  are  subjectively  necessary 
also.  i.e.  the  will  is  a  faculty  to  choose  that  only  which  reason 
independent  on  inclination  recognizes  as  practically  necessary, 
i.e.  as  good.  lUit  if  reason  of  itself  does  not  sufficiently  determine 
the  will,  if  the  latter  is  subject  also  to  subjective  conditions 
(particular  impulses)  which  do  not  always  coincide  with  the 
objective  conditions;  in  a  word,  if  the  will  does  not  in  itself 
completely  accord  with  reason  (which  is  actually  the  case  with 
men),  then  the  actions  which  objectively  are  recognized  as 
necessary  are  subjectively  contingent,  and  the  determination  of 


such  a  will  according  to  objective  laws  is  obligation,  that  is  to  say, 
the  relation  of  the  objective  laws  to  a  will  that  is  not  thoroughly 
good  is  conceived  as  the  determination  of  the  will  of  a  rational 
being  by  principles  of  reason,  but  which  the  will  from  its  nature 
does  not  of  necessity  follow. 

The  conception  of  an  objective  principle,  in  so  far  as  it  is 
obligatory  for  a  will,  is  called  a  command  (of  reason),  and  the 
formula  of  the  command  is  called  an  Imperative. 

All  imperatives  are  expressed  by  the  word  ouyht  [or  shalf], 
and  thereby  indicate  the  relation  of  an  objective  law  (37)  of 
reason  to  a  will,  which  from  its  subjective  constitution  is 
not  necessarily  determined  by  it  (an  obligation).  They  say 
that  something  would  be  good  to  do  or  to  forbear,  but  they  say 
it  to  a  will  which  does  not  always  do  a  thing  because  it  is 
conceived  to  be  good  to  do  it.  That  is  practically  good, 
however,  which  determines  the  will  by  means  of  the  conceptions 
of  reason,  and  consequently  not  from  subjective  causes,  but 
objectively,  that  is  on  principles  which  are  valid  for  every 
rational  being  as  such.  It  is  distinguished  from  the  pleasant.  a,s 
that  which  influences  the  will  only  by  means  of  sensation  from 
merely  subjective  causes,  valid  only  for  the  sense  of  this  or 
that  one,  and  not  as  a  principle  of  reason,  which  holds  for  every 

1  The  dependence  of  the  desires  on  sensations  is  called  inclination, 
and  this  accordingly  always  indicates  a  ivant.  The  dependence  of  a  con 
tingently  determinable  will  on  principles  of  reason  is  called  an  inten^st. 
This,  therefore,  is  found  only  in  the  case  of  a  dependent  will  which  does 
not  always  of  itself  conform  to  reason  ;  in  the  Divine  will  we  cannot 
conceive  any  interest.  But  the  human  will  can  also  take  an  interest  in  a 
thing  without  therefore  acting  from  interest.  The  former  signifies  the 
practical  interest  in  the  action,  the  latter  the  patholoyical  in  the  object  of 
the  action.  The  former  indicates  only  dependence  of  the  will  on  principles 
of  reason  in  themselves  ;  the  second,  dependence  on  principles  of  reason 
for  the  sake  of  inclination,  reason  supplying  only  the  practical  rules  how 
the  requirement  of  the  inclination  may  be  satisfied.  In  the  first  case  the 
action  interests  me  ;  in  the  second  the  object  of  the  action  (because  it  is 
pleasant  to  me).  We  have  seen  in  the  first  section  that  in  an  action  done 
from  duty  we  must  look  not  to  the  interest  in  the  object,  but  only  to  that 
in  the  action  itself,  and  in  its  rational  principle  (viz.  the  law). 


A  perfectly  good  will  would  therefore  be  equally  subject  to 
objective  laws  (viz.  laws  of  good),  but  could  not  be  conceived  as 
obliged  thereby  to  act  lawfully,  because  of  itself  from  its  sub 
jective  constitution  it  can  only  be  determined  by  the  conception 
of  good  (38).  Therefore  no  imperatives  hold  for  the  Divine 
will,  or  in  general  for  a  holy  will ;  ought  is  here  out  of  place, 
because  the  volition  is  already  of  itself  necessarily  in  unison 
with  the  law.  Therefore  imperatives  are  only  formulae  to 
express  the  relation  of  objective  laws  of  all  volition  to  the  sub 
jective  imperfection  of  the  will  of  this  or  that  rational  being, 
e.g.  the  human  will. 

Now  all  imperatives  command  either  liypothetically  or  cate 
gorically.  The  former  represent  the  practical  necessity  of  a 
possible  action  as  means  to  something  else  that  is  willed  (or  at 
least  which  one  might  possibly  will).  The  categorical  impera 
tive  would  be  that  which  represented  an  action  as  necessary 
of  itself  without  reference  to  another  end,  i.e.,  as  objectively 

Since  every  practical  law  represents  a  possible  action  as 
good,  and  on  this  account,  for  a  subject  who  is  practically 
determinable  by  reason,  necessary,  all  imperatives  are  formula? 
determining  an  action  which  is  necessary  according  to  the 
principle  of  a  will  good  in  some  respects.  If  now  the  action  is 
good  only  as  a  means  to  something  else,  then  the  imperative  is 
hypothetical',  if  it  is  conceived  as  goodm  itself  &ud  consequently 
as  being  necessarily  the  principle  of  a  will  which  of  itself  con 
forms  to  reason,  then  it  is  categorical. 

Thus  the  imperative  declares  what  action  possible  by  me 
would  be  good,  and  presents  the  practical  rule  in  relation  to 
a  will  which  does  not  forthwith  perform  an  action  simply 
because  it  is  good,  whether  because  the  subject  does  not  always 
know  that  it  is  good,  or  because,  even  if  it  know  this,  yet  its 
maxims  might  be  opposed  to  the  objective  principles  of  practical 

Accordingly  the  hypothetical  imperative  only  says  that  the 
action  is  good  for  some  purpose,  possible  or  actual  (39).  In  the 
first  case  it  is  a  Problematical,  in  the  second  an  Assertorial 


practical  principle.  The  categorical  imperative  which  declares 
an  action  to  be  objectively  necessary  in  itself  without  reference 
to  any  purpose,  >.  ?.  without  any  other  end,  is  valid  as  an 
Apodictic  (practical)  principle. 

Whatever  is  possible  only  by  the  power  of  some  rational 
being  may  also  be  conceived  as  a  possible  purpose  of  some  will ; 
and  therefore  the  principles  of  action  as  regards  the  means 
necessary  to  attain  some  possible  purpose  are  in  fact  infinitely 
numerous.  All  sciences  have  a  practical  part,  consisting  of 
problems  expressing  that  some  end  is  possible  for  us,  and  of 
imperatives  directing  how  it  may  be  attained.  These  may, 
therefore,  be  called  in  general  imperatives  of  Skill.  Here  there 
is  no  question  whether  the  end  is  rational  and  good,  but  only 
what  one  must  do  in  order  to  attain  it.  The  precepts  for  the 
physician  to  make  his  patient  thoroughly  healthy,  and  for  a 
poisoner  to  ensure  certain  death,  are  of  equal  value  in  this 
respect,  that  each  serves  to  effect  its  purpose  perfectly.  Since 
in  early  youth  it  cannot  be  known  what  ends  are  likely  to  occur 
to  us  in  the  course  of  life,  parents  seek  to  have  their  children 
taught  a  (jrcat  mon;/  tJiini/s,  and  provide  for  tlieii' skill  in  the  use 
of  means  for  all  sorts  of  arbitrary  ends,  of  none  of  which  can 
they  determine  whether  it  may  not  perhaps  hereafter  be  an 
object  to  their  pupil,  but  which  it  is  at  all  events  posxihtc  that 
he  might  aim  at :  and  this  anxiety  is  so  great  that  they 
commonly  neglect  to  form  and  correct  their  .judgment  on  the 
value  of  the  things  which  may  be  chosen  as  ends  (40). 

There  is  our  end,  however,  which  may  be  assumed  to  be 
actually  such  to  all  rational  beings  (so  far  as  imperatives  apply 
to  them,  viz.  as  dependent  beings),  and,  therefore,  one  purpose 
which  they  not  merely  ///'///  have,  but  which  we  may  with 
certainty  assume  that  they  all  actually  by  a  natural  neces 
sity,  and  this  is  li^jijiiitc.^.  The  hypothetical  imperative  which 
expresses  the  practical  necessity  of  an  action  as  means  to  the 
advancement  of  happiness  is  Assertorial.  We  are  not  to  present 
it  as  necessary  for  an  uncertain  and  merely  possible  purpose, 
but  for  a  purpose  which  we  may  presuppose  with  certainty  and 
a  priui-i  in  every  man,  because  it  belongs  to  his  being.  Now 

[4l]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  33 

skill  in  the  choice  of  means  to  his  own  greatest  well-being 
may  be  called  pmdence,1  in  the  narrowest  sense.  And  thus 
the  imperative  which  refers  to  the  choice  of  means  to  one's 
own  happiness,  i.e.  the  precept  of  prudence,  is  still  always 
hypothetical ;  the  action  is  not  commanded  absolutely,  but  only 
as  means  to  another  purpose. 

Finally,  there  is  an  imperative  which  commands  a  certain 
conduct  immediately,  without  having  as  its  condition  any  other 
purpose  to  be  attained  by  it.  This  imperative  is  Categorical. 
It  concerns  not  the  matter  of  the  action,  or  its  intended  result, 
but  its  form  and  the  principle  of  which  it  is  itself  a  result  (41) ; 
and  what  is  essentially  good  in  it  consists  in  the  mental  dispo 
sition,  let  the  consequence  be  what  it  may.  This  imperative 
may  be  called  that  of  Morality. 

There  is  a  marked  distinction  also  between  the  volitions  on 
these  three  sorts  of  principles  in  the  dissimilarity  of  the  obliga 
tion  of  the  will.  In  order  to  mark  this  difference  more  clearly, 
I  think  they  would  be  most  suitably  named  in  their  order  if  we 
said  they  are  either  rules  of  skill,  or  counsels  of  prudence,  or 
commands  (laws)  of  morality.  For  it  is  law  only  that  involves 
the  conception  of  an  unconditional  and  objective  necessity,  which 
is  consequently  universally  valid;  and  commands  are  laws 
which  must  be  obeyed,  that  is,  must  be  followed,  even  in  oppo 
sition  to  inclination.  Counsels,  indeed,  involve  necessity,  but 
one  which  can  only  hold  under  a  contingent  subjective  condi 
tion,  viz.  they  depend  on  whether  this  or  that  man  reckons  this 
or  that  as  part  of  his  happiness ;  the  categorical  imperative,  on 

1  The  word  prudence  is  taken  in  two  senses  :  in  the  one  it  may  bear  the 
name  of  knowledge  of  the  world,  in  the  other  that  of  private  prudence. 
The  former  is  a  man's  ability  to  influence  others  so  as  to  use  them  for  his 
own  purposes.  The  latter  is  the  sagacity  to  combine  all  these  purposes  for 
his  own  lasting  benefit.  This  latter  is  properly  that  to  which  the  value 
even  of  the  former  is  reduced,  and  when  a  man  is  prudent  in  the  former 
sense,  but  not  in  the  latter,  we  might  better  say  of  him  that  he  is  clever 
and  cunning,  but,  on  the  whole,  imprudent.  [Compare  on  the  difference 
between  klug  and  gescheu  here  alluded  to,  Anthropoloyie,  §  45,  ed.  Schubert, 
p.  110.] 



the  contrary,  is  not  limited  by  any  condition,  and  as  being 
absolutely,  although  practically,  necessary,  may  be  quite  pro 
perly  called  a  command.  We  might  also  call  the  first  kind  of 
imperatives  technical  (belonging  to  art),  the  second  praymatic1 
(to  welfare),  the  third  moral  (belonging  to  free  conduct  gene 
rally,  that  is,  to  morals). 

Xow  arises  the  question,  how  are  all  these  imperatives 
possible  ?  This  question  does  not  seek  to  know  how  we  can 
conceive  the  accomplishment  of  the  action  which  the  imperative 
ordains,  but  merely  how  we  can  conceive  the  obligation  of  the 
will  (42)  which  the  imperative  expresses.  No  special  explana 
tion  is  needed  to  show  how  an  imperative  of  skill  is  possible. 
Whoever  wills  the  end,  wills  also  (so  far  as  reason  decides  his 
conduct)  the  means  in  his  power  which  are  indispensably 
necessary  thereto.  This  proposition  is,  as  regards  the  volition, 
analytical ;  for,  in  willing  an  object  as  my  effect,  there  is 
already  thought  the  causality  of  myself  as  an  acting  cause,  that 
is  to  say,  the  use  of  the  means ;  and  the  imperative  educes  from 
the  conception  of  volition  of  an  end  the  conception  of  actions 
necessary  to  this  end.  Synthetical  propositions  must  no  doubt 
be  employed  in  defining  the  means  to  a  proposed  end;  but  they 
do  not  concern  the  principle,  the  act  of  the  will,  but  the  object 
and  its  realization.  Ex.  (jr.,  that  in  order  to  bisect  a  line  on 
an  unerring  principle  I  must  draw  from  its  extremities  two 
intersecting  arcs ;  this  no  doubt  is  taught  by  mathematics  only 
in  synthetical  propositions;  but  if  I  know  that  it  is  only  by  this 
process  that  the  intended  operation  can  be  performed,  then  to 
say  that  if  I  fully  will  the  operation,  I  also  will  the  action 
required  for  it,  is  an  analytical  proposition ;  for  it  is  one  and 
the  same  thing  to  conceive  something  as  an  effect  which  I  can 

1  It  seems  to  me  that  the  proper  signification  of  the  word  pratpruitic 
may  be  most  accurately  defined  in  this  way.  For  sanctions  [see  Cr.  of 
Pmct.  Reas.,  p.  271]  are  called  pragmatic  which  flow  properly,  not  from 
the  law  of  the  states  as  necessary  enactments,  but  trom precaution  for  the 
general  welfare.  A  history  is  composed  pragmatically  when  it  teaches 
prudence,  i.e.  instructs  the  world  how  it  can  provide  for  its  interests 
better,  or  at  least  as  well  as  the  men  of  former  time. 

[43]    -  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  35 

produce  in  a  certain  way,  and  to  conceive  myself  as  acting  in 
this  way. 

If  it  were  only  equally  easy  to  give  a  definite  conception  of 
happiness,  the  imperatives  of  prudence  would  correspond  exactly 
with  those  of  skill,  and  would  likewise  be  analytical.  For  in 
this  case  as  in  that,  it  could  be  said,  whoever  wills  the  end, 
wills  also  (according  to  the  dictate  of  reason  necessarily)  the 
indispensable  means  thereto  which  are  in  his  power.  But, 
unfortunately,  the  notion  of  happiness  is  so  indefinite  that 
although  every  man  wishes  to  attain  it,  yet  he  never  can  say 
definitely  and  consistently  what  it  is  that  he  really  wishes  and 
wills  (43).  The  reason  of  this  is  that  all  the  elements  which 
belong  to  the  notion  of  happiness  are  altogether  empirical,  i.  e. 
they  must  be  borrowed  from  experience,  and  nevertheless  the 
idea  of  happiness  requires  an  absolute  whole,  a  maximum  of 
welfare  in  my  present  and  all  future  circumstances.  Now  it  is 
impossible  that  the  most  clear-sighted  and  at  the  same  time 
most  powerful  being  (supposed  finite)  should  frame  to  himself  a 
definite  conception  of  what  he  really  wills  in  this.  Does  he 
will  riches,  how  much  anxiety,  envy,  and  snares  might  he  not 
thereby  draw  upon  his  shoulders  ?  Does  he  will  knowledge 
and  discernment,  perhaps  it  might  prove  to  be  only  an  eye  so 
much  the  sharper  to  show  him  so  much  the  more  fearfully  the 
evils  that  are  now  concealed  from  him,  and  that  cannot  be 
avoided,  or  to  impose  more  wants  on  his  desires,  which  already 
give  him  concern  enough.  Would  he  have  long  life  ?  who 
guarantees  to  him  that  it  would  not  be  a  long  misery  ?  would 
he  at  least  have  health  ?  how  often  has  uneasiness  of  the  body 
restrained  from  excesses  into  which  perfect  health  would  have 
allowed  one  to  fall  ?  and  so  on.  In  short,  he  is  unable,  on  any 
principle,  to  determine  with  certainty  what  would  make  him 
truly  happy ;  because  to  do  so  he  would  need  to  be  omniscient. 
We  cannot  therefore  act  on  any  definite  principles  to  secure 
happiness,  but  only  on  empirical  counsels,  ex.  yr.  of  regimen, 
frugality,  courtesy,  reserve,  &c.,  which  experience  teaches  do, 
on  the  average,  most  promote  well-being.  Hence  it  follows 
that  the  imperatives  of  prudence  do  not,  strictly  speaking, 



command  at  all,  that  is,  they  cannot  present  actions  objectively 
as  practically  necessary ;  that  they  are  rather  to  be  regarded  as 
counsels  (consilin)  than  precepts  (prcecepta)  of  reason,  that  the 
problem  to  determine  certainly  and  universally  (44)  what  action 
would  promote  the  happiness  of  a  rational  being  is  completely 
insoluble,  and  consequently  no  imperative  respecting  it  is  pos 
sible  which  should,  in  the  strict  sense,  command  to  do  what 
makes  happy  ;  because  happiness  is  not  an  ideal  of  reason  but 
of  imagination,  resting  solely  on  empirical  grounds,  and  it  is 
vain  to  expect  that  these  should  define  an  action  by  which  one 
could  attain  the  totality  of  a  series  of  consequences  which  is 
really  endless.  This  imperative  of  prudence  would,  however, 
be  an  analytical  proposition  if  we  assume  that  the  means  to 
happiness  could  be  certainly  assigned  ;  for  it  is  distinguished 
from  the  imperative  of  skill  only  by  this,  that  in  the  latter  the 
end  is  merely  possible,  in  the  former  it  is  given ;  as,  however, 
both  only  ordain  the  means  to  that  which  we  suppose  to  be 
willed  as  an  end,  it  follows  that  the  imperative  which  ordains 
the  willing  of  the  means  to  him  who  wills  the  end  is  in  both 
cases  analytical.  Thus  there  is  no  difficulty  in  regard  to  the 
possibility  of  an  imperative  of  this  kind  either. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  question,  how  the  imperative  of 
morality  is  possible,  is  undoubtedly  one,  the  only  one,  demand 
ing  a  solution,  as  this  is  not  at  all  hypothetical,  and  the  objec 
tive  necessity  which  it  presents  cannot  rest  on  any  hypothesis, 
as  is  the  case  with  the  hypothetical  imperatives.  Only  here  we 
must  never  leave  out  of  consideration  that  we  cannot  make  out 
li/  any  example,  in  other  words  empirically,  whether  there  is 
such  an  imperative  at  all ;  but  it  is  rather  to  be  feared  that  all 
those  which  seem  to  be  categorical  may  yet  be  at  bottom  hypo 
thetical.  For  instance,  when  the  precept  is  :  Thou  shalt  not 
promise  deceitfully  ;  and  it  is  assumed  that  the  necessity  of 
this  is  not  a  mere  counsel  to  avoid  some  other  evil,  so  that  it 
should  mean  :  Thou  shalt  not  make  a  lying  promise,  lest  if  it 
become  known  thou  shouldst  destroy  thy  credit  (45),  but  that  an 
action  of  this  kind  must  be  regarded  as  evil  in  itself,  so  that 
the  imperative  of  the  prohibition  is  categorical ;  then  we  cannot 


show  with  certainty  in  any  example  that  the  will  was  deter 
mined  merely  by  the  law,  without  any  other  spring  of  action, 
although  it  may  appear  to  be  so.  For  it  is  always  possible  that 
fear  of  disgrace,  perhaps  also  obscure  dread  of  other  dangers, 
may  have  a  secret  influence  on  the  will.  Who  can  prove  by 
experience  the  non-existence  of  a  cause  when  all  that  experience 
tells  us  is  that  we  do  not  perceive  it  ?  But  in  such  a  case  the 
so-called  moral  imperative,  which  as  such  appears  to  be 
categorical  and  unconditional,  would  in  reality  be  only  a  prag 
matic  precept,  drawing  our  attention  to  our  own  interests,  and 
merely  teaching  us  to  take  these  into  consideration. 

We  shall  therefore  have  to  investigate  a  priori  the  possi 
bility  of  a  categorical  imperative,  as  we  have  not  in  this  case 
the  advantage  of  its  reality  being  given  in  experience,  so  that 
[the  elucidation  of]  its  possibility  should  be  requisite  only  for 
its  explanation,  not  for  its  establishment.  In  the  meantime  it 
may  be  discerned  beforehand  that  the  categorical  imperative 
alone  has  the  purport  of  a  practical  law :  all  the  rest  may 
indeed  be  called  principles  of  the  will  but  not  laws,  since 
whatever  is  only  necessary  for  the  attainment  of  some  arbitrary 
purpose  may  be  considered  as  in  itself  contingent,  and  we  can 
at  any  time  be  free  from  the  precept  if  we  give  up  the  purpose : 
on  the  contrary,  the  unconditional  command  leaves  the  will  no 
liberty  to  choose  the  opposite ;  consequently  it  alone  carries 
with  it  that  necessity  which  we  require  in  a  law. 

Secondly,  in  the  case  of  this  categorical  imperative  or  law  of 
morality,  the  difficulty  (of  discerning  its  possibility)  is  a  very 
profound  one  (45).  It  is  an  d  priori  synthetical  practical  pro 
position1  ;  and  as  there  is  so  much  difficulty  in  discerning  the 

1  I  connect  the  act  with  the  will  without  presupposing  any  condition 
resulting  from  any  inclination,  but  u  priori,  and  therefore  necessarily 
(though  only  objectively,  i.e.  assuming  the  idea  of  a  reason  possessing  full 
power  over  all  subjective  motives).  This  is  accordingly  a  practical  propo 
sition  which  does  not  deduce  the  willing  of  an  action  by  mere  analysis 
from  another  already  presupposed  (for  we  have  not  such  a  perfect  will), 
but  connects  it  immediately  with  the  conception  of  the  will  of  a  rational 
being,  as  something  not  contained  in  it. 


possibility  of  speculative  propositions  of  this  kind,  it  may 
readily  be  supposed  that  the  difficulty  will  be  no  less  with  the 

In  this  problem  we  will  first  inquire  whether  the  mere  con 
ception  of  a  categorical  imperative  may  not  perhaps  supply  us 
also  with  the  formula  of  it,  containing  the  proposition  which 
alone  can  be  a  categorical  imperative  ;  for  even  if  we  know  the 
tenor  of  such  an  absolute  command,  yet  how  it  is  possible  will 
ivquire  further  special  and  laborious  study,  which  we  postpone 
to  tin1  last  section. 

When  I  conceive  a  hypothetical  imperative,  in  general  I  do 
not  know  beforehand  what  it  will  contain  until  I  am  given  the 
condition.  T>ut  when  I  conceive  a  categorical  imperative,  1 
know  at  once  what  it  contains.  For  as  the  imperative  contains 
besides  the  law  only  the  necessity  that  the  maxims1  shall  con 
form  to  this  law,  while  the  law  contains  no  conditions  restricting 
it,  there  remains  nothing  but  the  general  statement  that  the 
maxim  of  the  action  should  conform  to  a  universal  law  (47),  and 
it  is  this  conformity  alone  that  the  imperative  properly  represents 
as  necessary.2 

There  is  therefore  but  one  categorical  imperative,  namely, 
this  :  Ad  only  on  that  maxim  whereby  tlwu  canst  at  the  same  time 
'/<•///  tli at  it  should  become  a  universal  lav. 

Xow  if  all  imperatives  of  duty  can  be  deduced  from  this  one 
imperative  as  from  their  principle,  then,  although  it  should 
remain  undecided  whether  what  is  called  duty  is  not  merely  a 

•  A  MAXIM  is  a  subjective  principle  of  action,  and  must  be  distinguished 
from  the  objective  principle,  namely,  practical  law.  The  former  contains  the 
practical  rule  set  by  reason  according  to  the  conditions  of  the  subject 
(often  its  ignorance  or  its  inclinations),  so  that  it  is  the  principle  on  which 
the  subject  nctx  ;  but  the  law  is  the  objective  principle  valid  for  every 
rational  being,  and  is  the  principle  on  which  it  ought  to  act  that  is  an 

•  [I  have  no  doubt  that  "  den  "  in  the  original  before  "  Imperativ  " 
is  a  misprint  for  "der,"  and  have  translated  accordingly.  Mr.  Semplu 
has  done  the  same.  The  editions  that  I  have  seen  agree  in  reading 
''den,"  and  Mr.  Barni  so  translates.  With  this  reading,  it  is  the 
conformity  that  presents  the  imperative  as  necessary.] 

[48]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  39 

vain  notion,  yet  at  least  we  shall  be  able  to  show  what  we 
understand  by  it  and  what  this  notion  means. 

Since  the  universality  of  the  law  according  to  which  effects 
are  produced  constitutes  what  is  properly  called  nature  in  the 
most  general  sense  (as  to  form),  that  is  the  existence  of  things 
so  far  as  it  is  determined  by  general  laws,  the  imperative  of 
duty  may  be  expressed  thus  :  Act  as  if  the  maxim  of  thy  action 
were  to  become  l>y  thy  mil  a  universal  law  of  nature. 

We  will  now  enumerate  a  few  duties,  adopting  the  usual 
division  of  them  into  duties  to  ourselves  and  to  others,  and  into 
perfect  and  imperfect  duties.1  (43) 

1.  A  man  reduced  to  despair  by  a  series  of  misfortunes 
feels  wearied  of  life,  but  is  still  so  far  in  possession  of  his  reason 
that  he  can  ask  himself  whether  it  would  not  be  contrary  to  his 
duty  to  himself  to  take  his  own  life.  Now  he  inquires  whether 
the  maxim  of  his  action  could  become  a  universal -law  of  nature. 
His  maxim  is :  From  self-love  I  adopt  it  as  a  principle  to 
shorten  my  life  when  its  longer  duration  is  likely  to  bring 
more  evil  than  satisfaction.  It  is  asked  then  simply  whether 
this  principle  founded  on  self-love  can  become  a  universal 
law  of  nature.  Now  we  see  at  once  that  a  system  of  nature 
of  which  it  should  be  a  law  to  destroy  life  by  means  of  the 
very  feeling  whose  special  nature  it  is  to  impel  to  the  improve 
ment  of  life  would  contradict  itself,  and  therefore  could  not 
exist  as  a  system  of  nature;  hence  that  maxim  cannot  pos 
sibly  exist  as  a  universal  law  of  nature,  and  consequently 

1  It  must  be  noted  here  that  I  reserve  the  division  of  duties  for  a  future 
metnphysic  of  morals  ;.so  that  I  give  it  here  only  as  an  arbitrary  one  (in 
order  to  arrange  my  examples).  For  the  rest,  I  understand  by  a  perfect 
duty  one  that  admits  no  exception  in  favour  of  inclination,  and  then  1 
have  not  merely  external  but  also  internal  perfect  duties.  This  is  contrary 
to  the  use  of  the  word  adopted  in  the  schools  ;  but  I  do  not  intend  to  justify 
it  here,  as  it  is  all  one  for  my  purpose  whether  it  is  admitted  or  not. 
[Perfect  duties  are  usually  understood  to  be  those  which  can  be  enforced  by 
external  law  ;  -imperfect,  those  which  cannot  be  enforced.  They  are  also 
called  respectively  determinate  and  indeterminate,  officiu  juris  and  officio 


would  be  wholly  inconsistent  with  the  supreme  principle  of  all 

2.  Another   finds   himself   forced    by   necessity  to  borrow 
money.     He  knows  that  he  will  not  be  able  to  repay  it,  but 
sees  also  that  nothing  will  be  lent  to  him,  unless  he  promises 
stoutly  to  repay  it  in  a  definite  time.     He  desires  to  make  this 
promise,  but  he  has  still  so  much  conscience  as  to  ask  himself : 
Is  it  not  unlawful  and  inconsistent  with  duty  to  get  out  of  a 
difficulty  in  this  way  ?     Suppose,  however,  that  he  resolves  to 
do  so,  then  the  maxim  of  his  action  would  be  expressed  thus : 
When  I  think  myself  in  want  of  money,  I  will  borrow  money 
and  promise  to  repay  it,  although  I  know  that  I  never  can  do 
so.     Now  this  principle  of  self-love  or  of  one's  own  advantage 
may  perhaps  be  consistent  with  my  whole  future  welfare ;  but 
the  question  now  is,  Is  it  right  ?     I  change  then  the  suggestion 
of  self-love  into  a  universal  law,  and  state  the  question  thus  (49) : 
How  would  it  be  if  my  maxim  were  a  universal  law  ?     Then  I 
see  at  once  that  it  could  never  hold  as  a  universal  law  of 
nature,  but  would  necessarily  contradict  itself.     For  supposing 
it  to  be  a  universal  law  that  everyone  when  he  thinks  himself 
in  a  difficulty  should  be  able  to  promise  whatever  he  pleases, 
with  the  purpose  of  not  keeping  his  promise,  the  promise  itself 
would  become  impossible,  as  well  as  the  end  that  one  might 
have  in  view  in  it,  since  no  one  would  consider  that  anything 
was  promised  to  him,  but  would  ridicule  all  such  statements  as 
vain  pretences. 

3.  A  third  finds  in  himself  a  talent  which  with  the  help  of 
some  culture  might  make  him  a  useful  man  in  many  respects. 
But  he  finds  himself  in  comfortable  circumstances,  and  prefers 
to  indulge  in  pleasure  rather  than  to  take  pains  in  enlarging 
and  improving  his  happy  natural  capacities.     He  asks,  how 
ever,  whether  his  maxim  of  neglect  of  his  natural  gifts,  besides 
agreeing  with  his  inclination  to  indulgence,  agrees  also  with 
what  is  called  duty.     He  sees  then  that  a  system  of  nature 
could  indeed  subsist  with  such  a  universal  law  although  men 

1  [On  suicide  cf.  further  Metaphysik  der  Sitten,  p.  274.] 


(like  the  South  Sea  islanders)  should  let  their  talents  rest,  and 
resolve  to  devote  their  lives  merely  to  idleness,  amusement,  and 
propagation  of  their  species — in  a  word,  to  enjoyment ;  but  he 
cannot  possibly  will  that  this  should  be  a  universal  law  of 
nature,  or  be  implanted  in  us  as  such  by  a  natural  instinct. 
For,  as  a  rational  being,  he  necessarily  wills  that  his  faculties 
be  developed,  since  they  serve  him,  and  have  been  given  him, 
for  all  sorts  of  possible  purposes. 

4.  A  fourth,  who  is  in  prosperity,  while  he  sees  that  others 
have  to  contend  with  great  wretchedness  and  that  he  could 
help  them,  thinks  :  What  concern  is  it  of  mine  ?  Let  everyone 
be  as  happy  (so)  as  Heaven  pleases,  or  as  he  can  make  himself ; 
I  will  take  nothing  from  him  nor  even  envy  him,  only  I  do  not 
wish  to  contribute  anything  to  his  welfare  or  to  his  assistance  in 
distress  !  Now  no  doubt  if  such  a  mode  of  thinking  were  a 
universal  law,  the  human  race  might  very  well  subsist,  and 
doubtless  even  better  than  in  a  state  in  which  everyone  talks  of 
sympathy  and  good-will,  or  even  takes  care  occasionally  to  put 
it  into  practice,  but,  on  the  other  side,  also  cheats  when  he  can, 
betrays  the  rights  of  men,  or  otherwise  violates  them.  But 
although  it  is  possible  that  a  universal  law  of  nature  might 
exist  in  accordance  with  that  maxim,  it  is  impossible  to  will  that 
such  a  principle  should  have  the  universal  validity  of  a  law 
of  nature.  For  a  will  which  resolved  this  would  contradict 
itself,  inasmuch  as  many  cases  might  occur  in  which  one  would 
have  need  of  the  love  and  sympathy  of  others,  and  in  which,  by 
such  a  law  of  nature,  sprung  from  his  own  will,  he  would 
deprive  himself  of  all  hope  of  the  aid  he  desires. 

These  are  a  few  of  the  many  actual  duties,  or  at  least  what 
we  regard  as  such,  which  obviously  fall  into  two  classes  on  the 
one  principle  that  we  have  laid  down.  We  must  be  able  to  it-ill 
that  a  maxim  of  our  action  should  be  a  universal  law.  This 
is  the  canon  of  the  moral  appreciation  of  the  action  generally. 
Some  actions  are  of  such  a  character  that  their  maxim  cannot 
without  contradiction  be  even  conceived  as  a  universal  law  of 
nature,  far  from  it  being  possible  that  we  should  will  that  it 
should  be  so.  In  others  this  intrinsic  impossibility  is  not 


found,  but  still  it  is  impossible  to  mil  that  their  maxim  should 
be  raised  to  the  universality  of  a  law  of  nature,  since  such  a 
will  would  contradict  itself.  It  is  easily  seen  that  the  former 
violate  strict  or  rigorous  (inflexible)  duty  (51)  ;  the  latter  only 
laxer  (meritorious)  duty.  Thus  it  has  been  completely  shown 
by  these  examples  how  all  duties  depend  as  regards  the  nature 
of  the  obligation  (not  the  object  of  the  action)  on  the  same 

It'  now  we  attend  to  ourselves  on  occasion  of  any  transgres 
sion  of  duty,  we  shall  find  that  we  in  fact  do  not  will  that  our 
max  tin  should  be  a  universal  law,  for  that  is  impossible  for  us  ; 
on  the  contrary,  we  will  that  the  opposite  should  remain  a 
universal  law,  only  we  assume  the  liberty  of  making  an  Deception 
in  our  own  favour  or  (just  for  this  time  only)  in  favour  of  our 
inclination.  Consequently  if  we  considered  all  cases  from  one 
and  the  same  point  of  view,  namely,  that  of  reason,  we  should 
find  a  contradiction  in  our  own  will,  namely,  that  a  certain  prin 
ciple  should  be  objectively  necessary  as  a  universal  law,  and  yet 
subjectively  should  not  be  universal,  but  admit  of  exceptions. 
As,  however,  we  at  one  moment  regard  our  action  from  the  point 
of  view  of  a  will  wholly  conformed  to  reason,  and  then  again 
look  at  the  same  action  from  the  point  of  view  of  a  will  affected 
by  inclination,  there  is  not  really  any  contradiction,  but  an 
antagonism  of  inclination  to  the  precept  of  reason,  whereby  the 
universality  of  the  principle  is  changed  into  a  mere  generality, 
so  that  the  practical  principle  of  reason  shall  meet  the  maxim 
half  way.  Xow,  although  this  cannot  be  justified  in  our  own 
impartial  judgment,  yet  it  proves  that  we  do  really  recognize 
the  validity  of  the  categorical  imperative  and  (with  all  respect 
for  it)  only  allow  ourselves  a  few  exceptions,  which  we  think 
unimportant  and  forced  from  us. 

We  have  thus  established  at  least  this  much,  that  if  duty  is 
a  conception  which  is  to  have  any  import  and  real  legislative 
authority  for  our  actions  (52),  it  can  only  be  expressed  in 
categorical,  and  not  at  all  in  hypothetical  imperatives.  We 
have  also,  which  is  of  great  importance,  exhibited  clearly  and 
definitely  for  every  practical  application  the  content  of  the 

[53]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  43 

categorical  imperative,  which  must  contain  the  principle  of  all 
duty  if  there  is  such  a  thing  at  all.  We  have  not  yet,  however, 
advanced  so  far  as  to  prove  a  priori  that  there  actually  is  such 
an  imperative,  that  there  is  a  practical  law  which  commands 
absolutely  of  itself,  and  without  any  other  impulse,  and  that  the 
following  of  this  law  is  duty. 

With  the  view  of  attaining  to  this  it  is  of  extreme  impor 
tance  to  remember  that  we  must  not  allow  ourselves  to  think  of 
deducing  the  reality  of"  this  principle  from  the  particular  attri 
butes  of  human  nature.  For  duty  is  to  be  a  practical,  uncondi 
tional  necessity  of  action ;  it  must  therefore  hold  for  all  rational 
beings  (to  whom  an  imperative  can  apply  at  all),  and  for  this 
reason  only  be  also  a  law  for  all  human  wills.  On  the  contrary, 
whatever  is  deduced  from  the  particular  natural  characteristics 
of  humanity,  from  certain  feelings  and  propensions,1  nay,  even, 
if  possible,  from  any  particular  tendency  proper  to  human 
reason,  and  which  need  not  necessarily  hold  for  the  will  of 
every  rational  being  ;  this  may  indeed  supply  us  with  a  maxim, 
but  not  with  a  law;  with  a  subjective  principle  on  which  we 
may  have  a  propension  and  inclination  to  act,  but  not  with 
an  objective  principle  on  which  we  should  be  enjoined  to  act, 
even  though  all  our  propensions,  inclinations,  and  natural  dis 
positions  were  opposed  to  it.  In  fact,  the  sublimity  and  intrinsic 
dignity  of  the  command  in  duty  are  so  much  the  more  evident, 
the  less  the  subjective  impulses  favour  it  and  the  more  they 
oppose  it,  without  being  able  in  the  slightest  degree  to  weaken 
the  obligation  of  the  law  or  to  dimmish  its  validity  (53). 

Here  then  we  see  philosophy  brought  to  a  critical  position, 
since  it  has  to  be  firmly  fixed,  notwithstanding  that  it  has 
nothing  to  support  it  in  heaven  or  earth.  Here  it  must 
show  its  purity  as  absolute  director  of  its  own  laws,  not  the 

[  !  Kant  distinguishes  "  Hang  (propensio)  "  from  "  Neigung  (indinatio)  " 
as  follows  : — "Hang"  is  a  predisposition  to  the  desire  of  some  enjoyment ; 
in  other  words,  it  is  the  subjective  possibility  of  excitement  of  a  certain 
desire  which  precedes  the  conception  of  its  object.  When  the  enjoyment 
has  been  experienced,  it  produces  a  "  Neigung  "  (inclination)  to  it,  which 
accordingly  is  denned  "  habitual  sensible  desire." — Anthropologie,  §§  72,79; 
Religion,  p.  31.] 


herald  of  those  which  are  whispered  to  it  by  an  implanted  sense 
or  who  knows  what  tutelary  nature.  Although  these  may  be 
better  than  nothing,  yet  they  can  never  afford  principles  dic 
tated  by  reason,  which  must  have  their  source  wholly  a  priori 
and  thence  their  commanding  authority,  expecting  everything 
from  the  supremacy  of  the  law  and  the  due  respect  for  it 
nothing  from  inclination,  or  else  condemning  the  man  to  self- 
contempt  and  inward  abhorrence. 

Thus  every  empirical  element  is  not  only  quite  incapable  of 
being  an  aid  to  the  principle  of  morality,  but  is  even  highly 
prejudicial  to  the  purity  of  morals ;  for  the  proper  and  inestim 
able  worth  of  an  absolutely  good  will  consists  just  in  this,  that 
the  principle  of  action  is  free  from  all  influence  of  contingent 
grounds,  which  alone  experience  can  furnish.  We  cannot  too 
much  or  too  often  repeat  our  warning  against  this  lax  and  even 
mean  habit  of  thought  which  seeks  for  its  principle  amongst 
empirical  motives  and  laws  ;  for  human  reason  in  its  weariness 
is  glad  to  rest  on  this  pillow,  and  in  a  dream  of  sweet  illusions 
(in  which,  instead  of  Juno,  it  embraces  a  cloud)  it  substitutes 
for  morality  a  bastard  patched  up  from  limbs  of  various  deri 
vation,  which  looks  like  anything  one  chooses  to  see  in  it ;  only 
not  like  virtue  to  one  who  has  once  beheld  her  in  her  true 

(54)  The  question  then  is  this:  Is  it  a  necessary  law/cr  all 
rational  bcinys  that  they  should  always  judge  of  their  actions 
by  maxims  of  which  they  can  themselves  will  that  they  should 
serve  as  universal  laws  ?  If  it  is  so,  then  it  must  be  connected 
(altogether  a  priori]  with  the  very  conception  of  the  will  of  a 
rational  being  generally.  But  in  order  to  discover  this  con 
nexion  we  must,  however  reluctantly,  take  a  step  into  meta- 
physic,  although  into  a  domain  of  it  which  is  distinct  from 
speculative  philosophy,  namely,  the  metaphysic  of  morals.  In 

1  To  behold  virtue  in  her  proper  form  is  nothing  else  but  to  contemplate 
morality  stripped  of  all  admixture  of  sensible  things  (54)  and  of  every 
spurious  ornament  of  reward  or  self-love.  How  much  she  then  eclipses 
everything  else  that  appears  charming  to  the  affections,  every  one  may 
readily  perceive  with  the  least  exertion  of  his  reason,  if  it  be  not  wholly 
spoiled  for  abstraction. 

[55]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  45 

a  practical  philosophy,  where  it  is  not  the  reasons  of  what 
happens  that  we  have  to  ascertain,  but  the  laws  of  what  ought 
to  happen,  even  although  it  never  does,  i.  e.  objective  practical 
laws,  there  it  is  not  necessary  to  inquire  into  the  reasons  why 
anything  pleases  or  displeases,  how  the  pleasure  of  mere  sen 
sation  differs  from  taste,  and  whether  the  latter  is  distinct  from 
a  general  satisfaction  of  reason  ;  on  what  the  feeling  of  pleasure 
or  pain  rests,  and  how  from  it  desires  and  inclinations  arise, 
and  from  these  again  maxims  by  the  co-operation  of  reason  :  for 
all  this  belongs  to  an  empirical  psychology,  which  would  con 
stitute  the  second  part  of  physics,  if  we  regard  physics  as  the 
philosophy  of  nature,  so  far  as  it  is  based  on  empirical  laws.  But 
here  we  are  concerned  with  objective  practical  laws,  and  con 
sequently  with  the  relation  of  the  will  to  itself  so  far  as  it 
is  determined  by  reason  alone,  in  which  case  whatever  has 
reference  to  anything  empirical  is  necessarily  excluded ;  since 
if  reason  of  itself  alone  determines  the  conduct  (55)  (and  it  is  the 
possibility  of  this  that  we  are  now  investigating),  it  must 
necessarily  do  so  a  priori. 

The  will  is  conceived  as  a  faculty  of  determining  oneself  to 
action  in  accordance  with  the  conception  of  certain  laws.  And  such 
a  faculty  can  be  found  only  in  rational  beings.  Now  that  which 
serves  the  will  as  the  objective  ground  of  its  self-determination 
is  the  end,  and  if  this  is  assigned  by  reason  alone,  it  must  hold 
for  all  rational  beings.  On  the  other  hand,  that  which  merely 
contains  the  ground  of  possibility  of  the  action  of  which  the 
effect  is  the  end,  this  is  called  the  means.  The  subjective 
ground  of  the  desire  is  the  spring,  the  objective  ground  of 
the  volition  is  the  motive ;  hence  the  distinction  between  sub 
jective  ends  which  rest  on  springs,  and  objective  ends  which 
depend  on  motives  valid  for  every  rational  being.  Practical 
principles  are  formal  when  they  abstract  from  all  subjective 
ends ;  they  are  material  when  they  assume  these,  and  therefore 
particular  springs  of  action.  The  ends  which  a  rational  being 
proposes  to  himself  at  pleasure  as  effects  of  his  actions  (material 
ends)  are  all  only  relative,  for  it  is  only  their  relation  to  the 
particular  desires  of  the  subject  that  gives  them  their  worth, 


which  therefore  cannot  furnish  principles  universal  and  neces 
sary  for  all  rational  beings  and  for  every  volition,  that  is  to  say 
practical  laws.  Hence  all  these  relative  ends  can  give  rise  only 
to  hypothetical  imperatives. 

Supposing,  however,  that  there  were  something  whose 
existence  has  in  itself  an  absolute  worth,  something  which,' 
being  an  end  in  itself,  could  be  a  source  of  definite  laws,  then  in 
this  and  this  alone  would  lie  the  source  of  a  possible  categorical 
imperative,  i.  c.  a  practical  law  (50). 

Now  I  say :  man  and  generally  any  rational  being  exists  as 
an  end  in  himself,  not  merely  as  a  means  to  be  arbitrarily  used 
by  this  or  that  will,  but  in  all  his  actions,  whether  they  concern 
himself  or  other  rational  beings,  must  be  always  regarded  at  the 
same  time  as  an  end.  >  All  objects  of  the  inclinations  have  only  a 
conditional  worth;  for  if  the  inclinations  and  the  wants  founded 
on  them  did  not  exist,  then  their  object  would  be  without  value. 
But  the  inclinations  themselves  being  sources  of  want  are  so  far 
from  having  an  absolute  worth  for  which  they  should  be  desired, 
that,  on  the  contrary,  it  must  be  the  universal  wish  of  every 
rational  being  to  be  wholly  free  from  them.  Thus  the  worth 
of  any  object  which  is  to  lie  acquired  by  our  action  is  always 
conditional.  Beings  whose  existence  depends  not  on  our  will 
but  on  nature's,  have  nevertheless,  if  they  are  rational  beings, 
only  a  relative  value  as  means,  and  are  therefore  called  th  inf/s ; 
f  rational  beings,  on  the  contrary,  are  called  persons,  because  their 
very  nature  points  them  out  as  ends  in  themselves,  that  is  as 
something  which  must  not  be  used  merely  as  means,  and  so  far 
therefore  restricts  freedom  of  action  (and  is  an  object  of  respect). , 
These,  therefore,  are  not  merely  subjective  ends  whose  existence 
has  a  worth  for  us  as  an  effect  of  our  action,  but  object  in?  ends, 
that  is  things  whose  existence  is  an  end  in  itself  :  an  end  more 
over  for  which  no  other  can  be  substituted,  which  they  should 
subserve  merely  as  means,  for  otherwise  nothing  whatever  would 
possess  absolute  worth ;  but  if  all  worth  were  conditioned  and 
therefore  contingent,  then  there  would  be  no  supreme  practical 
principle  of  reason  whatever. 

If  then  there  is  a  supreme  practical  principle  or,  in  respect  of 

[58]  METAPHYSIC    OF    MORALS.  47 

the  human  will,  a  categorical  imperative,  it  must  be  one  which  (57), 
being  drawn  from  the  conception  of  that  which  is  necessarily 
a"n  end  for  everyone  because  it  is  an  end  in  itself,  constitutes 
an  objective  principle  of  will,  and  can  therefore  serve  as  a 
universal  practical  law.  The  foundation  of  this  principle  is  : 
rational  nature  exists  as  an  end  in  itself.  Man  necessarily  con 
ceives  his  own  existence  as  being  so  :  so  far  then  this  is  a  *»b- 
jcctivc  principle  of  human  actions.  But  every  other  rational 
being  regards  its  existence  similarly,  just  on  the  same  rational 
principle  that  holds  for  me1 :  so  that  it  is  at  the  same  time  an 
objective  principle,  from  which  as  a  supreme  practical  law  all 
laws  of  the  will  must  be  capable  of  being  deduced.  Accordingly 
the  practical  imperative  will  be  as  follows  :  So  act  as  to  treat 
humanity,  whether  in  thine  o ten  person  or  in  that  of  any  other,  in 
every  case  as  an  end  withal,  never  as  means  only.  We  will  now 
inquire  whether  this  can  be  practically  carried  out. 

To  abide  by  the  previous  examples  : 

Firstly,  under  the  head  of  necessary  duty  to  oneself :  He 
who  contemplates  suicide  should  ask  himself  whether  his  action 
can  be  consistent  with  the  idea  of  humanity  as  an  end  in  itself. 
If  he  destroys  himself  in  order  to  escape  from  painful  circum 
stances,  he  uses  a  person  merely  as  a  mean  to  maintain  a  toler 
able  condition  up  to  the  end  of  life.  But  a  man  is  not  a  thing, 
that  is  to  say,  something  which  can  be  used  merely  as  means, 
but  must  in  all  his  actions  be  always  considered  as  an  end  in 
himself.  I  cannot,  therefore,  dispose  in  any  way  of  a  man  in 
my  own  person  so  as  to  mutilate  him,  to  damage  or  kill  him  (58). 
(It  belongs  to  ethics  proper  to  define  this  principle  more  pre 
cisely,  so  as  to  avoid  all  misunderstanding,  e.  y.  as  to  the 
amputation  of  the  limbs  in  order  to  preserve  myself  ;  as  to 
exposing  my  life  to  danger  with  a  view  to  preserve  it,  &c.  This 
question  is  therefore  omitted  here.) 

Secondly,  as  regards  necessary  duties,  or  those  of  strict 
obligation,  towards  others  ;  he  who  is  thinking  of  making  a  lying 

1  This  proposition  is  here  stated  as  a  postulate.      The  ground  of  it 
will  be  found  in  the  concluding  section. 


promise  to  others  will  see  at  once  that  he  would  be  using  another 
man  merely  as  a  mean,  without  the  latter  containing  at  the  same 
time  the  end  in  himself.  For  he  whom  I  propose  by  such  a 
promise  to  use  for  my  own  purposes  cannot  possibly  assent  to 
my  mode  of  acting  towards  him,  and  therefore  cannot  himself 
contain  the  end  of  this  action.  This  violation  of  the  principle 
of  humanity  in  other  men  is  more  obvious  if  we  take  in 
examples  of  attacks  on  the  freedom  and  property  of  others.  For 
then  it  is  clear  that  he  who  transgresses  the  rights  of  men 
intends  to  use  the  person  of  others  merely  as  means,  without 
considering  that  as  rational  beings  they  ought  always  to  be 
esteemed  also  as  ends,  that  is,  as  beings  who  must  be  capable  of 
containing  in  themselves  the  end  of  the  very  same  action.1 

Thirdly,  as  regards  contingent  (meritorious)  duties  to  one 
self  ;  it  is  not  enough  that  the  action  does  not  violate  humanity 
in  our  own  person  as  an  end  in  itself,  it  must  also  harmonize 
with  it  (59).  Now  there  are  in  humanity  capacities  of  greater 
perfection  which  belong  to  the  end  that  nature  has  in  view  in 
regard  to  humanity  in  ourselves  as  the  subject :  to  neglect  these 
might  perhaps  be  consistent  with  the  maintenance  of  humanity 
as  an  end  in  itself,  but  not  with  the  advancement  of  this  end. 

Fourthly,  as  regards  meritorious  duties  towards  others  :  the 
natural  end  which  all  men  have  is  their  own  happiness.  Xow 
humanity  might  indeed  subsist,  although  no  one  should  contri 
bute  anything  to  the  happiness  of  others,  provided  he  did  not 
intentionally  withdraw  anything  from  it;  but  after  all,  this 
would  only  harmonize  negatively,  not  positively,  with  humanity. 

1  Let  it  not  be  thought  that  the  common  :  quod  tibi  non  vis  fieri,  etc., 
could  serve  here  as  the  rule  or  principle.  For  it  is  only  a  deduction  from 
the  former,  though  with  several  limitations  ;  it  cannot  be  a  universal  law, 
for  it  does  not  contain  the  principle  of  duties  to  oneself,  nor  of  the  duties 
of  benevolence  to  others  (for  many  a  one  would  gladly  consent  that 
others  should  not  benefit  him,  provided  only  that  he  might  be  excused 
from  showing  benevolence  to  them),  nor  finally  that  of  duties  of  strict 
obligation  to  one  another,  for  on  this  principle  the  criminal  might  argue 
against  the  judge  who  punishes  him,  and  so  on. 


as  an  end  in  itself,  if  everyone  does  not  also  endeavour,  as  far 
as  in  him  lies,  to  forward  the  ends  of  others.  For  the  ends  of 
any  subject  which  is  an  end  in  himself,  ought  as  far  as  possible 
to  be  my  ends  also,  if  that  conception  is  to  have  its  full  effect 
with  me. 

This  principle,  that  humanity  and  generally  every  rational 
nature  is  an  end  in  itself  (which  is  the  supreme  limiting  con 
dition  of  every  man's  freedom  of  action),  is  not  borrowed  from 
experience,  firstly,  because  it  is  universal,  applying  as  it  does  to 
all  rational  beings  whatever,  and  experience  is  not  capable  of 
determining  anything  about  them  ;  secondly,  because  it  does  not 
present  humanity  as  an  end  to  men  (subjectively),  that  is  as  an 
object  which  men  do  of  themselves  actually  adopt  as  an  end ; 
but  as  an  objective  end,  which  must  as  a  law  constitute  the 
supreme  limiting  condition  of  all  our  subjective  ends,  let  them 
be  what  we  will ;  it  must  therefore  spring  from  pure  reason. 
In  fact  the  objective  principle  of  all  practical  legislation  lies 
(according  to  the  first  principle)  in  the  rule  and  its  form  of 
universality  which  makes  it  capable  of  being  a  law  (say,  e.g.,  a 
law  of  nature)  ;  but  the  subjective  principle  is  in  the  end ;  now 
by  the  second  principle  the  subject  of  all  ends  is  each  rational 
being  (GO)  inasmuch  as  it  is  an  end  in  itself.  Hence  follows 
the  third  practical  principle  of  the  will,  which  is  the  ultimate 
condition  of  its  harmony  with  the  universal  practical  reason, 
viz.  :  the  idea  of  the  will  of  every  rational  being  as  a  universally 
legislative  will. 

On  this  principle  all  maxims  are  rejected  which  are  incon 
sistent  with  the  will  being  itself  universal  legislator.  Thus  the 
will  is  not  subject  simply  to  the  law,  but  so  subject  that  it 
must  be  regarded  as  itself  giving  the  law,  and  on  this  ground 
only,  subject  to  the  law  (of  which  it  can  regard  itself  as  the 

In  the  previous  imperatives,  namely,  that  based  on  the  con 
ception  of  the  conformity  of  actions  to  general  laws,  as  in  a 
physical  system  of  nature,  and  that  based  on  the  universal  pre 
rogative  of  rational  beings  as  ends  in  themselves — these  impera 
tives  just  because  they  were  conceived  as  categorical,  excluded 



from  any  share  in  their  authority  all  admixture  of  any  interest 
as  a  spring  of  action;  they  were,  however,  only  assumed  to  he 
categorical,  because  such  an  assumption  was  necessary  to  ex 
plain  the  conception  of  duty.  But  we  could  not  prove  inde 
pendently  that  there  are  practical  propositions  which  command 
categorically,  nor  can  it  be  proved  in  this  section ;  one  thing, 
however,  could  be  done,  namely,  to  indicate  in  the  imperative 
itself  by  some  determinate  expression,  that  in  the  case  of 
volition  from  duty  all  interest  is  renounced,  which  is  the  specific 
criterion  of  categorical  as  distinguished  from  hypothetical 
imperatives.  This  is  done  in  the  present  (third)  formula  of 
the  principle,  namely,  in  the  idea  of  the  will  of  every  rational 
being  as  a  universally  legislating  will. 

(ei)  For  although  a  will  which  is  subject  to  law*  may  he 
attached  to  this  law  by  means  of  an  interest,  yet  a  will  which 
is  itself  a  supreme  lawgiver  so  far  as  it  is  such  cannot  possibly 
depend  on  any  interest,  since  a  will  so  dependent  would  itself 
still  need  another  law  restricting  the  interest  of  its  self-love 
by  the  condition  that  it  should  be  valid  as  universal  law. 

Thus  the  principle  that  every  human  will  is  a  will  which  in 
all  its  maxims  (jives  universal  laws,1  provided  it  be  otherwise 
justified,  would  be  very  well  adapted  to  be  the  categorical 
imperative,  in  this  respect,  namely,  that  just  because  of  the  idea 
of  universal  legislation  it  is  not  based  on  any  interest,  and  there 
fore  it  alone  among  all  possible  imperatives  can  be  unconditional. 
Or  still  better,  converting  the  proposition,  if  there  is  a  categorical 
imperative  (i.  e.,  a  law  for  the  will  of  every  rational  being),  it 
can  only  command  that  everything  be  done  from  maxims  of 
one's  will  regarded  as  a  will  which  could  at  the  same  time  will 
that  it  should  itself  give  universal  laws,  for  in  that  case  only 
the  practical  principle  and  the  imperative  which  it  obeys  are 
unconditional,  since  they  cannot  be  based  on  any  interest. 

Looking  back  now  on  all  previous  attempts  to  discover  the 

1  I  may  be  excused  from  adducing  examples  to  elucidate  this  principle, 
as  those  which  have  already  been  used  to  elucidate  the  categorical 
imperative  and  its  formula  would  all  serve  for  the  like  purpose}  here. 

[62]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  51. 

principle  of  morality,  we  need  not  wonder  why  they  all  failed. 
It  was  seen  that  man  was  bound  to  laws  by  duty,  but  it  was 
not  observed  that  the  laws  to  which  he  is  subject  are  only  those 
of  his  own  giving,  though  at  the  same  time  they  are  universal  (62), 
and  that  he  is  only  bound  to  act  in  conformity  with  his  own 
will ;  a  will,  however,  which  is  designed  by  nature  to  give 
universal  laws.  For  when  one  has  conceived  man  only  as 
subject  to  a  law  (no  matter  what),  then  this  law  required  some 
interest,  either  by  way  of  attraction  or  constraint,  since  it  did 
not  originate  as  a  law  from  his  own  will,  but  this  will  was 
according  to  a  law  obliged  by  something  else  to  act  in  a  certain 
manner.  Now  by  this  necessary  consequence  all  the  labour 
spent  in  finding  a  supreme  principle  of  duty  was  irrevocably 
lost.  For  men  never  elicited  duty,  but  only  a  necessity  of 
acting  from  a  certain  interest.  Whether  this  interest  was 
private  or  otherwise,  in  any  case  the  imperative  must  be  con 
ditional,  and  could  not  by  any  means  be  capable  of  being  a 
moral  command.  I  will  therefore  call  this  the  principle  of 
Autonomy  of  the  will,  in  contrast  with  every  other  which  I 
accordingly  reckon  as  Hdcronomy? 

The  conception  of  every  rational  being  as  one  which  must 
consider  itself  as  giving  in  all  the  maxims  of  its  will  universal 
laws,  so  as  to  judge  itself  and  its  actions  from  this  point  of 
view — this  conception  leads  to  another  which  depends  on  it  and 
is  very  fruitful,  namely,  that  of  a  kingdom  of  ends. 

By  a  kingdom  I  understand  the  union  of  different  rational 
beings  in  a  system  by  common  laws.  Now  since  it  is  by  laws 
that  ends  are  determined  as  regards  their  universal  validity, 
hence,  if  we  abstract  from  the  personal  differences  of  rational 
beings,  and  likewise  from  all  the  content  of  their  private  ends, 
we  shall  be  able  to  conceive  all  ends  combined  in  a  systematic 
whole  (including  both  rational  beings  as  ends  in  themselves,  and 
also  the  special  ends  which  each  may  propose  to  himself),  that 
is  to  say,  we  can  conceive  a  kingdom  of  ends,  which  on  the 
preceding  principles  is  possible. 

1  [Cp.  Critical  Examination  of  Practical  Reason,  p.  184.] 


(e;?)  For  all  rational  beings  come  under  the  lav."  that  each  of 
them  must  treat  itself  and  all  others  never  merely  as  means,  but  in 
every  case  at  the  same  time  as  ends  in  themselves.  Hence  results  a 
systematic  union  of  rational  beings  by  common  objective  laws, 
/./'.,  a  kingdom  which  may  be  called  a  kingdom  of  ends,  since 
what  these  laws  have  in  view  is  just  the  relation  of  these  beings 
to  one  another  as  ends  and  means.  It  is  certainly  only  an 

A  rational  being  belongs  as  a  member  to  the  kingdom  of  ends 
when,  although  giving  universal  laws  in  it,  he  is  also  himself 
subject  to  these  laws.  He  belongs  to  it  as  sovereign  when,  while 
giving  laws,  he  is  not  subject  to  the  will  of  any  other. 

A  rational  being  must  always  regard  himself  as  giving  laws 
either  as  member  or  as  sovereign  in  a  kingdom  of  ends  which  is 
rendered  possible  by  the  freedom  of  will.  He  cannot,  however, 
maintain  the  latter  position  merely  by  the  maxims  of  his  will, 
but  only  in  case  he  is  a  completely  independent  being  without 
wants  and  with  unrestricted  power  adequate  to  his  will. 

Morality  consists  then  in  the  reference  of  all  action  to  the 
legislation  which  alone  can  render  a  kingdom  of  ends  possible. 
This  legislation  must  be  capable  of  existing  in  every  rational 
being,  and  of  emanating  from  his  will,  so  that  the  principle  of 
this  will  is,  never  to  act  on  any  maxim  which  could  not  without 
contradiction  be  also  a  universal  law,  and  accordingly  always  so 
to  act  that  the  will  could  at  the  same  time  regard  itself  as  giving  in 
•its  'maxims  iniiwrsal  lavs.  If  now  the  maxims  of  rational  beings 
are  not  by  their  own  nature  coincident  with  this  objective 
principle,  then  the  necessity  of  acting  on  it  is  called  practical 
necessitation  (54),  i.  e.  duty.  Duty  does  not  apply  to  the 
sovereign  in  the  kingdom  of  ends,  but  it  does  to  every  member 
of  it  and  to  all  in  the  same  degree. 

The  practical  necessity  of  acting  on  this  principle,  i.  e.  duty. 
does  not  rest  at  all  on  feelings,  impulses,  or  inclinations,  but 
solely  on  the  relation  of  rational  beings  to  one  another,  a 
relation  in  which  the  will  df  a  rational  being  must  always  be 
regarded  •d&leyixl<itiri>1  since  otherwise  it  could  not  be  conceived 
as  mi  ''ml  in  itself.  Ileason  then  refers  every  maxii  i  of  the  will, 

[65]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  f>3 

regarding  it  as  legislating  universally,  to  every  other  will  and 
also  to  every  action  towards  oneself;  and  this  not  on  account 
of  any  other  practical  motive  or  any  future  advantage,  but  from 
the  idea  of  the  diynity  of  a  rational  being,  obeying  no  law  but 
that  which  he  himself  also  gives. 

In  the  kingdom  of  ends  everything  has  either  Value  or 
Dignity.  Whatever  has  a  value  can  be  replaced  by  something 
else  which  is  equivalent ;  whatever,  on  the  other  hand,  is 
above  all  value,  and  therefore  admits  of  no  equivalent,  has 
a  dignity. 

Whatever  has  reference  to  the  general  inclinations  and 
wants  of  mankind  has  a  market  value ;  whatever,  without  pre 
supposing  a  want,  corresponds  to  a  certain  taste,  that  is  to  a 
satisfaction  in  the  mere  purposeless  play  of  our  faculties,  has  a 
fancy  value;  but  that  which  constitutes  the  condition  under 
which  alone  anything  can  be  an  end  in  itself,  this  has  not 
merely  a  relative  worth,  i.e.  value,  but  an  intrinsic  worth,  that 
is  dignity. 

Now  morality  is  the  condition  under  which  alone  a  rational 
being  can  be  an  end  in  himself,  since  by  this  alone  it  is  possible 
that  he  should  be  a  legislating  member  in  the  kingdom  of  ends. 
Thus  morality,  and  humanity  as  capable  of  it,  is  that  which 
alone  has  dignity  (GO).  Skill  and  diligence  in  labour  have  a 
market  value;  wit,  lively  imagination,  and  humour,  have  fancy 
value ;  on  the  other  hand,  fidelity  to  promises,  benevolence 
from  principle  (not  from  instinct),  have  an  intrinsic  worth. 
Neither  nature  nor  art  contains  anything  which  in  default  of 
these  it  could  put  in  their  place,  for  their  worth  consists  not 
in  the  effects  which  spring  from  them,  not  in  the  use  and  ad 
vantage  which  they  secure,  but  in  the  disposition  of  mind,  that 
is,  the  maxims  of  the  will  which  are  ready  to  manifest  them 
selves  in  such  actions,  even  though  they  should  not  have  the 
desired  effect,  These  actions  also  need  no  recommendation 
from  any  subjective  taste  or  sentiment,  that  they  may  be 
looked  on  with  immediate  favour  and  satisfaction  :  they  need 
no  immediate  propension  or  feeling  for  them ;  they  exhibit  the 
will  that  performs  them  as  an  object  of  an  immediate  respect, 


and  nothing  but  reason  is  required  to  impose  them  on  the  will ; 
not  to  flatter  it  into  them,  which,  in  the  case  of  duties,  would  be 
a  contradiction.  This  estimation  therefore  shows  that  the  worth 
of  such  a  disposition  is  dignity,  and  places  it  infinitely  above 
all  value,  with  which  it  cannot  for  a  moment  be  brought  into 
comparison  or  competition  without  as  it  were  violating  its 

What  then  is  it  which  justifies  virtue  or  the  morally  good 
disposition,  in  making  such  lofty  claims  ?  It  is  nothing  less 
than  the  privilege  it  secures  to  the  rational  being  of  participat 
ing  in  the  giving  of  universal  laws,  by  which  it  qualifies  him  to 
be  a  member  of  a  possible  kingdom  of  ends,  a  privilege  to  which 
he  was  already  destined  by  his  own  nature  as  being  an  end  in 
himself,  and  on  that  account  legislating  in  the  kingdom  of  ends; 
free  as  regards  all  laws  of  physical  nature,  and  obeying  those 
only  which  he  himself  gives  and  by  which  his  maxims  can 
belong  to  a  system  of  universal  law,  to  which  at  the  same  time 
he  submits  himself.  For  nothing  has  any  worth  except  (66)  what 
the  law  assigns  it.  Now  the  legislation  itself  which  assigns  the 
worth  of  everything  must  for  that  very  reason  possess  dignity, 
that  is  an  unconditional  incomparable  worth  ;  and  the  word 
respect  alone  supplies  a  becoming  expression  for  the  esteem 
which  a  rational  being  must  have  for  it.  Autonomi/  then 
is  the  basis  of  the  dignity  of  human  and  of  every  rational 

The  three  modes  of  presenting  the  principle  of  morality  that 
have  been  adduced  are  at  bottom  only  so  many  formula-  of  the 
very  same  law,  and  each  of  itself  involves  the  other  two.  There 
is,  however,  a  difference  in  them,  but  it  is  rather  subjectively 
than  objectively  practical,  intended  namely  to  bring  an 
idea  of  the  reason  nearer  to  intuition  (by  means  of  a  certain 
analogy),  and  thereby  nearer  to  feeling.  All  maxims,  in  fact, 
have — 

1.  A  farm,  consisting  in  universality;  and  in  this  view  the 
formula  of  the  moral  imperative  is  expressed  thus,  that  the 
maxims  must  be  so  chosen  as  if  they  were  to  serve  as  universal 
laws  of  nature. 

[67]  MKTAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  55 

2.  A  matter,1  namely,  an  end,  and  here   the  formula  says 
that  the  rational  being,  as  it  is  an  end  by  its  own  nature  and 
therefore  an  end  in  itself,  must  in  every  maxim  serve  as  the 
condition  limiting  all  merely  relative  and  arbitrary  ends. 

3.  A  complete  characterisation  of   all  maxims  by  means  of 
that    formula,  namely,  that   all    maxims  ought  by  their  own 
legislation  to  harmonize  with  a  possible  kingdom  of  ends  as 
with  a  kingdom  of  nature2  (GT).     There  is  a  progress  here  in  the 
order  of   the  categories  of  unity  of  the  form  of  the  will  (its 
universality),  plurality  of  the  matter  (the  objects,  i.e.  the  ends), 
and  totality  of   the  system  of  these.      In  forming  our  moral 
judgment  of  actions  it  is  better  to  proceed  always  on  the  strict 
method,  and  start  from  the  general  formula  of  the  categorical 
imperative:  Act  according  to  a  maxim  which  can  at  the  same  time 
make  itself  a  universal  law.     If,  however,  we  wish  to  gain  an 
entrance  for  the  moral  law,  it  is  very  useful  to  bring  one  and 
the   same  action  under   the   three  specified   conceptions,  and 
thereby  as  far  as  possible  to  bring  it  nearer  to  intuition. 

We  can  now  end  where  we  started  at  the  beginning,  namely, 
with  the  conception  of  a  will  unconditionally  good.  That  will 
is  absolutely  good  which  cannot  be  evil — in  other  words,  whose 
maxim,  if  made  a  universal  law,  could  never  contradict  itself. 
This  principle,  then,  is  its  supreme  law  :  Act  always  on  such  a 
maxim  as  thou  canst  at  the  same  time  will  to  be  a  universal 
law ;  this  is  the  sole  condition  under  which  a  will  can  never 
contradict  itself  ;  and  such  an  imperative  is  categorical.  Since 
the  validity  of  the  will  as  a  universal  law  for  possible  actions  is 
analogous  to  the  universal  connexion  of  the  existence  of  things 
by  general  laws,  which  is  the  formal  notion  of  nature  in  general, 

1  [The  reading  "Maxirne,"  which  is  that  both  of  Rosenkranz  and 
Hartenstein,  is  obviously  an  error  for  "  Materie."] 

-  Teleology  considers  nature  as  a  kingdom  of  ends  ;  Ethics  regards  a 
possible  kingdom  of  _  ends  as  a  kingdom  of  nature.  In  the  nrst  case,  the 
kingdom  of  ends  is  a  theoretical  idea,  adopted  to  explain  what  actually  is. 
In  the  latter  it  is  a  practical  idea,  adopted  to  bring  about  that  which  is  not 
yet,  but  which  can  be  realized  by  our  conduct,  namely,  if  it  conforms  to 
this  idea. 


the  categorical  imperative  can  also  be  expressed  thus:  Act  on 
maxims  which  can  at  the  same  time  have  for  their  object  themselves 
as  universal  lavs  of  nature.  Such  then  is  the  formula  of  an 
absolutely  good  will. 

Rational  nature  is  distinguished  from  the  rest  of  nature  by 
this,  that  it  sets  before  itself  an  end.  This  end  would  be  the 
matter  of  every  good  will  (es).  But  since  in  the  idea  of  a  will 
that  is  absolutely  good  without  being  limited  by  any  condition 
(of  attaining  this  or  that  end)  we  must  abstract  wholly  from 
every  end  to  be  effected  (since  this  would  make  every  will  only 
relatively  good),  it  follows  that  in  this  case  the  end  must  be 
conceived,  not  as  an  end  to  be  effected,  but  as  an  independently 
existing  end.  Consequently  it  is  conceived  only  negatively, 
i.e.,  as  that  which  we  must  never  act  against,  and  which,  there 
fore,  must  never  be  regarded  merely  as  means,  but  must  in 
every  volition  be  esteemed  as  an  end  likewise.  Now  this  end 
can  be  nothing  but  the  subject  of  all  possible  ends,  since  this  is 
also  the  subject  of  a  possible  absolutely  good  will ;  for  such  a 
will  cannot  without  contradiction  be  postponed  to  any  other 
object.  This  principle  :  So  act  in  regard  to  every  rational 
being  (thyself  and  others),  that  he  may  always  have  place  in 
thy  maxim  as  an  end  in  himself,  is  accordingly  essentially 
identical  with  this  other :  Act  upon  a  maxim  which,  at  the 
same  time,  involves  its  own  universal  validity  for  every  rational 
being.  For  that  in  using  means  for  every  end  I  should  limit 
my  maxim  by  the  condition  of  its  holding  good  as  a  law  for 
every  subject,  this  comes  to  the  same  thing  as  that  the  funda 
mental  principle  of  all  maxims  of  action  must  be  that  the 
subject  of  all  ends,  i.e.,  the  rational  being  himself,  be  never 
employed  merely  as  means,  but  as  the  supreme  condition 
restricting  the  use  of  all  means,  that  is  in  every  case  as  an 
end  likewise. 

It  follows  incontestably  that,  to  whatever  laws  any  rational 
being  may  be  subject,  he  being  an  end  in  himself  must  l>e  able 
tf»  regard  himself  as  also  legislating  universally  in  respect  of 
these  same  laws,  since  it  is  just  this  fitness  of  his  maxims  for 
universal  legislation  that  distinguishes  him  as  an  end  in  himself; 

[70]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  57 

also  it  follows  that  this  implies  his  dignity  (prerogative)  above 
all  mere  physical  beings,  that  he  must  always  take  his  (eg) 
maxims  from  the  point  of  view  which  regards  himself,  and 
likewise  every  other  rational  being,  as  lawgiving  beings  (on 
which  account  they  are  called  persons).  In  this  way  a  world  of 
rational  beings  (nmndus  intelligibilis)  is  possible  as  a  kingdom  of 
ends,  and  this  by  virtue  of  the  legislation  proper  to  all  persons 
as  members.  Therefore  every  rational  being  must  so  act  as 
if  he  were  by  his  maxims  in  every  case  a  legislating  member 
in  the  universal  kingdom  of  ends.  The  formal  principle  of 
these  maxims  is  :  So  act  as  if  thy  maxim  were  to  serve  likewise 
as  the  universal  law  (of  all  rational  beings).  A  kingdom  of 
ends  is  thus  only  possible  on  the  analogy  of  a  kingdom  of 
nature,  the  former,  however,  only  by  maxims,  that  is  self- 
imposed  rules,  the  latter  only  by  the  laws  of  efficient  causes 
acting  under  necessitation  from  without.  Nevertheless,  although 
the  system  of  nature  is  looked  upon  as  a  machine,  yet  so  far  as 
it  has  reference  to  rational  beings  as  its  ends,  it  is  given  on 
this  account  the  name  of  a  kingdom  of  nature.  Now  such  a 
kingdom  of  ends  would  be  actually  realized  by  means  of 
maxims  conforming  to  the  canon  which  the  categorical  impera 
tive  prescribes  to  all  rational  beings,  if  they  were  universally 
followed.  But  although  a  rational  being,  even  if  he  punctually 
follows  this  maxim  himself,  cannot  reckon  upon  all  others  being 
therefore  true  to  the  same,  nor  expect  that  the  kingdom  of 
nature  and  its  orderly  arrangements  shall  be  in  harmony  with 
him  as  a  fitting  member,  so  as  to  form  a  kingdom  of  ends  to 
which  he  himself  contributes,  that  is  to  say,  that  it  shall  favour 
his  expectation  of  happiness,  still  that  law :  Act  according  to 
the  maxims  of  a  member  of  a  merely  possible  kingdom  of  ends 
legislating  in  it  universally,  remains  in  its  full  force,  inasmuch 
as  it  commands  categorically.  And  it  is  just  in  this  that  the 
paradox  lies;  that  the  mere  dignity  of  man  as  a  rational 
creature  (70),  without  any  other  end  or  advantage  to  be  attained 
thereby,  in  other  words,  respect  for  a  mere  idea,  should  yet  serve 
as  an  inflexible  precept  of  the  will,  and  that  it  is  precisely 
in  this  independence  of  the  maxim  on  all  such  springs  of 


action  that  its  sublimity  consists ;  and  it  is  this  that  makes 
every  rational  subject  worthy  to  be  a  legislative  member  in  the 
kingdom  of  ends  :  for  otherwise  he  would  have  to  be  conceived 
only  as  subject  to  the  physical  law  of  his  wants.  And  although 
we  should  suppose  the  kingdom  of  nature  and  the  kingdom  of 
ends  to  be  united  under  one  sovereign,  so  that  the  latter  king 
dom  thereby  ceased  to  be  a  mere  idea  and  acquired  true  reality, 
then  it  would  no  doubt  gain  the  accession  of  a  strong  spring, 
but  by  no  means  any  increase  of  its  intrinsic  worth.  For  this 
sole  absolute  lawgiver  must,  notwithstanding  this,  be  always 
conceived  as  estimating  the  worth  of  rational  beings  only  by 
their  disinterested  behaviour,  as  prescribed  to  themselves  from 
that  idea  [the  dignity  of  man]  alone.  The  essence  of  things 
is  not  altered  by  their  external  relations,  and  that  which, 
abstracting  from  these,  alone  constitutes  the  absolute  worth  of 
man,  is  also  that  by  which  he  must  be  judged,  whoever  the 
judge  may  be,  and  even  by  the  Supreme  Being.  Morality, 
then,  is  the  relation  of  actions  to  the  autonomy  of  the  will,  that 
is,  to  the  potential  universal  legislation  by  its  maxims.  An 
action  that  is  consistent  with  the  autonomy  of  the  will  is 
permitted]  one  that  does  not  agree  therewith  is  forbidden.  A  wrill 
whose  maxims  necessarily  coincide  with  the  laws  of  autonomy 
is  a  holy  will,  good  absolutely.  The  dependence  of  a  will  not 
absolutely  good  on  the  principle  of  autonomy  (moral  necessi- 
tation)  is  obligation.  This,  then,  cannot  be  applied  to  a  holy 
being.  The  objective  necessity  of  actions  from  obligation  is 
called  duty. 

(71)  From  what  has  just  been  said,  it  is  easy  to  see  how  it 
happens  that  although  the  conception  of  duty  implies  subjection 
to  the  law,  we  yet  ascribe  a  certain  dignity  and  sublimity  to 
the  person  who  fulfils  all  his  duties.  There  is  not,  indeed, 
any  sublimity  in  him,  so  far  as  he  is  subject  to  the  moral  law  ; 
but  inasmuch  as  in  regard  to  that  very  law  he  is  likewise 
a  legislator,  and  on  that  account  alone  subject  to  it,  he  has 
sublimity.  We  have  also  shown  above  that  neither  fear  nor 
inclination,  but  simply  respect  for  the  law,  is  the  spring  which 
can  give  actions  a  moral  worth.  Our  own  will,  so  far  as  we 

[72]  METAPHYSIC    OF   MORALS.  59 

suppose  it  to  act  only  under  the  condition  that  its  maxims  are 
potentially  universal  laws,  this  ideal  will  which  is  possible  to  us 
is  the  proper  object  of  respect ;  and  the  dignity  of  humanity 
consists  just  in  this  capacity  of  being  universally  legislative, 
though  with  the  condition  that  it  is  itself  subject  to  this  same 

The  Autonomy  of  the  Will  as  the  Supreme  Principle  of  Morality. 

Autonomy  of  the  will  is  that  property  of  it  by  which  it  is  a 
law  to  itself  (independently  on  any  property  of  the  objects  of 
volition).  The  principle  of  autonomy  then  is :  Always  so  to 
choose  that  the  same  volition  shall  comprehend  the  maxims  of 
our  choice  as  a  universal  law.  We  cannot  prove  that  this 
practical  rule  is  an  imperative,  i.e.,  that  the  will  of  every 
rational  being  is  necessarily  bound  to  it  as  a  condition,  by  a 
mere  analysis  of  the  conceptions  which  occur  in  it,  since  it  is 
a  synthetical  proposition  (72) ;  we  must  advance  beyond  the 
cognition  of  the  objects  to  a  critical  examination  of  the  subject, 
that  is  of  the  pure  practical  reason,  for  this  synthetic  proposi 
tion  which  commands  apodictically  must  be  capable  of  being 
cognized  wholly  d  priori.  This  matter,  however,  does  not 
belong  to  the  present  section.  But  that  the  principle  of 
autonomy  in  question  is  the  sole  principle  of  morals  can  be 
readily  shown  by  mere  analysis  of  the  conceptions  of  morality. 
For  by  this  analysis  we  find  that  its  principle  must  be  a 
categorical  imperative,  and  that  what  this  commands  is  neither 
more  nor  less  than  this  very  autonomy. 

Heteronomy  of  the  Will  as  the  Source  of  all  spurious  Principles  of 


If  the  will  seeks  the  law  which  is  to  determine  it  anywhere 
else  than  in  the  fitness  of  its  maxims  to  be  universal  laws  of  its 
own  dictation,  consequently  if  it  goes  out  of  itself  and  seeks  this 
law  in  the  character  of  any  of  its  objects,  there  always  results 
heteronomy.  The  will  in  that  case  does  not  give  itself  the  law, 
but  it  is  given  by  the  object  through  its  relation  to  the  will. 
This  relation,  whether  it  rests  on  inclination  or  on  conceptions 


of  reason,  only  admits  of  hypothetical  imperatives  :  I  ought  to 
do  something  because  I  wish  for  something  else.  On  the  contrary, 
the  moral,  and  therefore  categorical,  imperative  says  :  I  ought 
to  do  so  and  so,  even  though  I  should  not  wish  for  anything 
else.  Ex.  (jr.,  the  former  says :  I  ought  not  to  lie  if  I  would 
retain  my  reputation ;  the  latter  says :  I  ought  not  to  lie 
although  it  should  not  bring  me  the  least  discredit.  The 
latter  therefore  must  so  far  abstract  from  all  objects  that  they 
shall  have  no  influence  on  the  will,  in  order  that  practical  reason 
(will)  may  not  be  restricted  to  administering  an  interest  not 
belonging  to  it  (73),  but  may  simply  show  its  own  commanding 
authority  as  the  supreme  legislation.  Thus,  ex.  gr.,  I  ought  to 
endeavour  to  promote  the  happiness  of  others,  not  as  if  its 
realization  involved  any  concern  of  mine  (whether  by  immediate 
inclination  or  by  any  satisfaction  indirectly  gained  through 
reason),  but  simply  because  a  maxim  which  excludes  it  cannot 
be  comprehended  as  a  universal  law1  in  one  and  the  same 


Of  all  Principles  of  Morality  which  can  be.  founded  on  the 
Conception  of  Heteronomy. 

Here  as  elsewhere  human  reason  in  its  pure  use,  so  long  as 
it  was  not  critically  examined,  has  first  tried  all  possible  wrong 
ways  before  it  succeeded  in  finding  the  one  true  way. 

All  principles  which  can  be  taken  from  this  point  of  view 
are  either  empirical  or  rational.  The  former,  drawn  from  the 
principle  of  happiness,  are  built  on  physical  or  moral  feelings ; 
the  latter,  drawn  from  the  principle  of  perfection,  are  built  either 
on  the  rational  conception  of  perfection  as  a  possible  effect,  or 
on  that  of  an  independent  perfection  (the  will  of  God)  as  the 
determining  cause  of  our  will. 

Empirical  principles  are  wholly  incapable  of  serving  as  a 
foundation  for  moral  laws.  For  the  universality  with  which 

[I  read  cdlfjemeines  instead  of  <illriemcinem.~\ 

[75]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  61 

these  should  hold  for  all  rational  beings  without  distinction,  the 
unconditional  practical  necessity  which  is  thereby  imposed  on 
them  is  lost  when  their  foundation  is  taken  from  the  particular 
constitution  of  human  nature,  or  the  accidental  (74)  circumstances 
in  which  it  is  placed.  The  principle  of  private  happiness,  how 
ever,  is  the  most  objectionable,  not  merely  because  it  is  false,, 
and  experience  contradicts  the  supposition  that  prosperity  is 
always  proportioned  to  good  conduct,  nor  yet  merely  because- 
it  contributes  nothing  to  the  establishment  of  morality — since 
it  is  quite  a  different  thing  to  make  a  prosperous  man  and 
a  good  man,  or  to  make  one  prudent  and  sharp-sighted  for  his 
own  interests,  and  to  make  him  virtuous — but  because  the 
springs  it  provides  for  morality  are  such  as  rather  undermine 
it  and  destroy  its  sublimity,  since  they  put  the  motives  to  virtue 
and  to  vice  in  the  same  class,  and  only  teach  us  to  make  a 
better  calculation,  the  specific  difference  between  virtue  and 
vice  being  entirely  extinguished.  On  the  other  hand,  as  to 
moral  feeling,  this  supposed  special  sense,1  the  appeal  to  it  is 
indeed  superficial  when  those  who  cannot  think  believe  that 
feeling  will  help  them  out,  even  in  what  concerns  general  laws : 
and  besides,  feelings  which  naturally  differ  infinitely  in  degree 
cannot  furnish  a  uniform  standard  of  good  and  evil,  nor  has 
anyone  a  right  to  form  judgments  for  others  by  his  own  feel 
ings  :  nevertheless  this  moral  feeling  is  nearer  to  morality  and 
its  dignity  in  this  respect,  that  it  pays  virtue  the  honour  of 
ascribing  to  her  immediately  the  satisfaction  and  esteem  we 
have  for  her,  and  does  not,  as  it  were,  tell  her  to  her  face  that 
we  are  not  attached  to  her  by  her  beauty  but  by  profit. 

(75)  Amongst  the  rational  principles  of  morality,  the 
outological  conception  of  perfection,  notwithstanding  its  defects, 
is  better  than  the  theological  conception  which  derives  morality 

1  I  class  the  principle  of  moral  feeling  under  that  of  happiness,  because 
every  empirical  interest  promises  to  contribute  to  our  well-being  by  the 
agreeableness  that  a  thing  affords,  whether  it  be  immediately  and  without 
a  view  to  profit,  or  whether  profit  be  regarded.  We  must  likewise,  with 
Hutcheson,  class  the  principle  of  sympathy  with  the  happiness  of  others 
under  his  assumed  moral  sense. 


from  a  Divine  absolutely  perfect  will.  The  former  is,  no  doubt, 
empty  and  indefinite,  and  consequently  useless  for  finding  in. 
the  boundless  field  of  possible  reality  the  greatest  amount  suit 
able  for  us  ;  moreover,  in  attempting  to  distinguish  specifically 
the  reality  of  which  we  are  now  speaking  from  every  other,  it 
inevitably  tends  to  turn  in  a  circle,  and  cannot  avoid  tacitly 
presupposing  the  morality  which  it  is  to  explain  ;  it  is  neverthe 
less  preferable  to  the  theological  view,  first,  because  we  have  no 
intuition  of  the 'Divine  perfection,  and  can  only  deduce  it  from 
our  own  conceptions,  the  most  important  of  which  is  that  of 
morality,  and  our  explanation  would  thus  be  involved  in  a  gross 
circle ;  and,  in  the  next  place,  if  we  avoid  this,  the  only  notion 
of  the  Divine  \vill  remaining  to  us  is  a  conception  made  up  of 
the  attributes  of  desire  of  glory  and  dominion,  combined  with 
the  awful  conceptions  of  might  and  vengeance,  and  any  system 
of  morals  erected  on  this  foundation  would  be  directly  opposed 
to  morality. 

However,  if  I  had  to  choose  between  the  notion  of  the  moral 
sense  and  that  of  perfection  in  general  (two  systems  which  at 
least  do  not  weaken  morality,  although  they  are  totally  incap 
able  of  serving  as  its  foundation),  then  I  should  decide  for  the 
latter,  because  it  at  least  withdraws  the  decision  of  the  question 
from  the  sensibility  and  brings  it  to  the  court  of  pure  reason; 
and  although  even  here  it  decides  nothing,  it  at  all  events 
preserves  the  indefinite  idea  (of  a  will  good  in  itself)  free  from 
corruption,  until  it  shall  be  more  precisely  defined. 

For  the  rest  I  think  I  may  be  excused  here  from  a  detailed 
refutation  of  all  these  doctrines;  that  would  only  be  superfluous 
labour,  since  it  is  so  easy,  and  is  probably  so  well  seen  even  by 
those  whose  office  requires  them  to  decide  for  one  of  those 
theories  (because  their  hearers  would  not  tolerate  suspension  of 
judgment)  (?e).  But  what  interests  us  more  here  is  to  know 
that  the  prime  foundation  of  morality  laid  down  by  all  these 
principles  is  nothing  but  heteronomy  of  the  will,  and  for  this 
reason  they  must  necessarily  miss  their  aim. 

In  every  case  where  an  object  of  the  will  has  to  be  sup 
posed,  in  order  that  the  rule  may  be  prescribed  which  is  to 

[77]  METAFHYSIC    OF   MORALS.  63 

determine  the  will,  there  the  rule  is  simply  heteronomy  ;  the 
imperative  is  conditional,  namely,  if  or  because  one  wishes  for 
this  object,  one  should  act  so  and  so :  hence  it  can  never 
command  morally,  that  is  categorically.  "Whether  the  object 
determines  the  will  by  means  of  inclination,  as  in  the  principle 
of  private  happiness,  or  by  means  of  reason  directed  to  objects 
of  our  possible  volition  generally,  as  in  the  principle  of  perfec 
tion,  in  either  case  the  will  never  determines  itself  immediately 
by  the  conception  of  the  action,  but  only  by  the  influence 
which  the  foreseen  effect  of  the  action  has  on  the  will;  I  ov.glit 
to  do  something,  on  this  account,  because  I  wish  for  something  else  ; 
and  here  there  must  be  yet  another  law  assumed  in  me  as  its 
subject,  by  which  I  necessarily  will  this  other  thing,  and  this 
law  again  requires  an  imperative  to  restrict  this  maxim.  For 
the  influence  which  the  conception  of  an  object  within  the  reach 
of  our  faculties  can  exercise  on  the  will  of  the  subject  in  conse 
quence  of  its  natural  properties,  depends  on  the  nature  of  the 
subject,  either  the  sensibility  (inclination  and  taste),  or  the 
understanding  and  reason,  the  employment  of  which  is  by  the 
peculiar  constitution  of  their  nature  attended  with  satisfaction. 
It  follows  that  the  law  would  be,  properly  speaking,  given  by 
nature,  and  as  such,  it  must  be  known  and  proved  by  expe 
rience,  and  would  consequently  be  contingent,  and  therefore 
incapable  of  being  an  apodictic  practical  rule,  such  as  the  moral 
rule  must  be.  Xot  only  so,  lout  it  is  inevitably  only  hetero 
nomy  (77) ;  the  will  does  not  give  itself  the  law,  but  it  is  given 
by  a  foreign  impulse  by  means  of  a  particular  natural  constitu 
tion  of  the  subject  adapted  to  receive  it.  An  absolutely  good 
will,  then,  the  principle  of  \vhich  must  be  a  categorical  impera 
tive,  will  be  indeterminate  as  regards  all  objects,  and  will 
contain  merely  the  form  of  volition  generally,  and  that  as 
autonomy,  that  is  to  say,  the  capability  of  the  maxims  of  every 
good  will  to  make  themselves  a  universal  law,  is  itself  the 
only  law  which  the  will  of  every  rational  being  imposes  on 
itself,  without  needing  to  assume  any  spring  or  interest  as  a 

How  such  a  si/nthctical  practical  a  priori  proposition  is  possible, 


and  why  it  is  necessary,  is  a  problem  whose  solution  does  not 
lie  within  the  bounds  of  the  metaphysic  of  morals ;  and  we 
have  not  here  affirmed  its  truth,  much  less  professed  to  have  a 
proof  of  it  in  our  power.  We  simply  showed  by  the  develop 
ment  of  the  universally  received  notion  of  morality  that  an 
autonomy  of  the  will  is  inevitably  connected  with  it,  or  rather 
is  its  foundation.  Whoever  then  holds  morality  to  be  anything 
real,  and  not  a  chimerical  idea  without  any  truth,  must  like 
wise  admit  the  principle  of  it  that  is  here  assigned.  This 
section,  then,  like  the  first,  was  merely  analytical.  Now  to 
prove  that  morality  is  no  creation  of  the  brain,  which  it  cannot 
be  if  the  categorical  imperative  and  with  it  the  autonomy  of 
the  will  is  true,  and  as  an  a  priori  principle  absolutely  neces 
sary,  this  supposes  the  possibility/  of  a  synthetic  use  of  pure 
practical  'reason,  which,  however,  we  cannot  venture  on  without 
first  giving  a  critical  examination  of  this  faculty  of  reason.  In 
the  concluding  section  we  shall  give  the  principal  outlines  of 
this  critical  examination  as  far  as  is  sufficient  for  our  purpose. 

[79]  METAI'IIYSIG   OF   MORALS.  05 



The  Concept  of  Freedom  is  the  Key  that  explains  the  Autonomy 

of  the  Will 

THE  will  is  a  kind  of  causality  belonging  to  living  beings  in  so 
far  as  they  are  rational,  and  freedom  would  be  this  property  of 
such  causality  that  it  can  be  efficient,  independently  on  foreign 
causes  determining  it ;  just  as  physical  necessity  is  the  property 
that  the  causality  of  all  irrational  beings  has  of  being  deter 
mined  to  activity  by  the  influence  of  foreign  causes. 

The  preceding  definition  of  freedom  is  negative,  and  there 
fore  unfruitful  for  the  discovery  of  its  essence ;  but  it  leads 
to  a  positive  conception  which  is  so  much  the  more  full  and 
fruitful.  Since  the  conception  of  causality  involves  that  of 
laws,  according  to  which,  by  something  that  we  call  cause, 
something  else,  namely,  the  effect,  must  be  produced  [laid 
down]  j1  hence,  although  freedom  is  not  a  property  of  the 
will  depending  on  physical  laws,  yet  it  is  not  for  that  reason 
lawless  ;  on  the  contrary,  it  must  be  a  causality  acting  according 
to  immutable  laws,  but  of  a  peculiar  kind ;  otherwise  a  free 
will  would  be  an  absurdity.  Physical  necessity  (79)  is  a 
heteronomy  of  the  efficient  causes,  for  every  effect  is  possible 
only  according  to  this  law,  that  something  else  determines 
the  efficient  cause  to  exert  its  causality.  What  else  then 
can  freedom  of  the  will  be  but  autonomy,  that  is  the 

1  [Gesetst. — There  is  in  the  original  a  play  on  the  etymology  of  Gesetz, 
which  does  not  admit  of  reproduction  in  English.  It  must  be  confessed 
that  without  it  the  statement  is  not  self-evident.] 



property  of  the  will  to  be  a  law  to  itself  ?  But  the 
proposition  :  The  will  is  in  every  action  a  law  to  itself,  only 
expresses  the  principle,  to  act  on  no  other  maxim  than  that 
which  can  also  have  as  an  object  itself  as  a  universal  law.  Now 
this  is  precisely  the  formula  of  the  categorical  imperative  and 
is  the  principle  of  morality,  so  that  a  free  will  and  a  will 
subject  to  moral  laws  are  one  and  the  same. 

On  the  hypothesis,  then,  of  freedom  of  the  will,  morality 
together  with  its  principle  follows  from  it  by  mere  analysis  of 
the  conception.  However,  the  latter  is  a  synthetic  proposition ; 
viz.,  an  absolutely  good  will  is  that  whose  maxim  can  always 
include  itself  regarded  as  a  universal  law  ;  for  this  property 
of  its  maxim  can  never  be  discovered  by  analysing  the  con 
ception  of  an  absolutely  good  will.  Now  such  synthetic 
propositions  are  only  possible  in  this  way  :  that  the  two 
cognitions  are  connected  together  by  their  union  with  a  third 
in  which  they  are  both  to  be  found.  The  positive  concept  of 
freedom  furnishes  this  third  cognition,  which  cannot,  as  with 
physical  causes,  be  the  nature  of  the  sensible  world  (in  the 
concept  of  which  we  find  conjoined  the  concept  of  something"  in 
relation  as  cause  to  something  else  as  effect).  We  cannot  now  at 
once  show  what  this  third  is  to  which  freedom  points  us,  and  of 
which  we  have  an  idea  «  priori,  nor  can  we  make  intelligible 
how  the  concept  of  freedom  is  shown  to  be  legitimate  from 
principles  of  pure  practical  reason,  and  with  it  the  possibility 
of  a  categorical  imperative ;  but  some  further  preparation  is 


Must  be  presupposed  as  a  Property  of  the  Will  of  all  Rationed 


It  is  not  enough  to  predicate  freedom  of  our  own  will,  from 
whatever  reason,  if  we  have  not  sufficient  grounds  for  predi 
cating  the  same  of  all  rational  beings.  For  as  morality  serves 
as  a  law  for  us  only  because  we  are  rational  beings,  it  must  also 
hold  for  all  rational  beings  ;  and  as  it  must  be  deduced  simply 
from  the  property  of  freedom,  it  must  be  shown  that  freedom 

[gl]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  67 

also  is  a  property  of  all  rational  beings.  It  is  not  enough,  then, 
to  prove  it  from  certain  supposed  experiences  of  human  nature 
(which  indeed  is  quite  impossible,  and  it  can  only  be  shown 
d  priori),  but  we  must  show  that  it  belongs  to  the  activity  of 
all  rational  beings  endowed  with  a  will.  Now  I  say  every 
being  that  cannot  act  except  under  the  idea  of  freedom  is  just 
for  that  reason  in  a  practical  point  of  view  really  free,  that  is 
to  say,  all  laws  which  are  inseparably  connected  with  freedom 
have  the  same  force  for  him  as  if  his  will  had  been  shown  to 
be  free  in  itself  by  a  proof  theoretically  conclusive.1  Now  I 
affirm  that  we  must  attribute  to  every  rational  being  (si)  which 
has  a  will  that  it  has  also  the  idea  of  freedom  and  acts  entirely 
under  this  idea.  For  in  such  a  being  we  conceive  a  reason  that 
is  practical,  that  is,  has  causality  in  reference  to  its  objects. 
Now  we  cannot  possibly  conceive  a  reason  consciously  receiving 
a  bias  from  any  other  quarter  with  respect  to  its  judgments, 
for  then  the  subject  would  ascribe  the  determination  of  its 
judgment  not  to  its  own  reason,  but  to  an  impulse.  It  must 
regard  itself  as  the  author  of  its  principles  independent  on 
foreign  influences.  Consequently  as  practical  reason  or  as  the 
will  of  a  rational  being  it  must  regard  itself  as  free,  that  is  to 
say,  the  will  of  such  a  being  cannot  be  a  will  of  its  own  except 
under  the  idea  of  freedom.  This  idea  must  therefore  in  a 
practical  point  of  view  be  ascribed  to  every  rational  being. 

Of  the  Interest  attaching  to  the  Ideas  of  Morality. 

We  have  finally  reduced  the  definite  conception  of  morality 
to  the  idea  of  freedom.  This  latter,  however,  we  could  not 
prove  to  be  actually  a  property  of  ourselves  or  of  human  nature ; 

1 1  adopt  this  method  of  assuming  freedom  merely  as  an  idea  which 
rational  beings  suppose  in  their  actions,  in  order  to  avoid  the  necessity 
of  proving  it  in  its  theoretical  aspect  also.  The  former  is  sufficient  for 
my  purpose  ;  for  even  though  the  speculative  proof  should  not  be  made 
out,  yet  a  being  that  cannot  act  except  with  the  idea  of  freedom  is  bound 
by  the  same  laws  that  would  oblige  a  being  who  was  actually  free.  Thus 
we  can  escape  here  from  the  onus  which  presses  on  the  theory. 
[Compare  Butler's  treatment  of  the  question  of  liberty  in  his  Aiialogy, 
part  I.,  ch.  vi.] 



only  we  saw  that  it  must  be  presupposed  if  we  would  conceive 
a  being  as  rational  and  conscious  of  its  causality  in  respect  of 
its  actions,  i.e.,  as  endowed  with  a  will ;  and  so  we  find  that  on 
just  the  same  grounds  we  must  ascribe  to  every  being  endowed 
with  reason  and  will  this  attribute  of  determining  itself  to 
action  under  the  idea  of  its  freedom. 

Now  it  resulted  also  from  the  presupposition  of  this  idea 
that  we  became  aware  of  a  law  that  the  subjective  principles  of 
action,  i.e.  maxims,  must  also  be  so  assumed  that  they  can 
also  hold  as  objective  (82),  that  is,  universal  principles,  and  so 
serve  as  universal  laws  of  our  own  dictation.  But  why,  then, 
should  I  subject  myself  to  this  principle  and  that  simply  as 
a  rational  being,  thus  also  subjecting  to  it  all  other  beings 
endowed  with  reason  ?  I  will  allow  that  no  interest  urges  me 
to  this,  for  that  would  not  give  a  categorical  imperative,  but  I 
must  take  an  interest  in  it  and  discern  how  this  comes  to  pass  ; 
for  this  "  I  ought "  is  properly  an  "  I  would,"  valid  for  every 
rational  being,  provided  only  that  reason  determined  his  actions 
without  any  hindrance.  But  for  beings  that  are  in  addition 
affected  as  we  are  by  springs  of  a  different  kind,  namely 
sensibility,  and  in  whose  case  that  is  not  always  done  which 
reason  alone  would  do,  for  these  that  necessity  is  expressed 
only  as  an  "  ought,"  and  the  subjective  necessity  is  different 
from  the  objective. 

It  seems,  then,  as  if  the  moral  law,  that  is,  the  principle  of 
autonomy  of  the  will,  were  properly  speaking  only  presupposed 
in  the  idea  of  freedom,  and  as  if  we  could  not  prove  its  reality 
and  objective  necessity  independently.  In  that  case  we  should 
still  have  gained  something  considerable  by  at  least  determining 
the  true  principle  more  exactly  than  had  previously  been  done ; 
but  as  regards  its  validity  and  the  practical  necessity  of  subject 
ing  oneself  to  it,  we  should  not  have  advanced  a  step.  For 
if  we  were  asked  why  the  universal  validity  of  our  maxim 
as  a  law  must  be  the  condition  restricting  our  actions,  and  on 
what  we  ground  the  worth  which  we  assign  to  this  manner  of 
acting — a  worth  so  great  that  there  cannot  be  any  higher  inte 
rest  ;  and  if  we  were  asked  further  how  it  happens  that  it  is  by 

[83]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  69 

this  alone  a  man  believes  he  feels  his  own  personal  worth,  in 
comparison  with  which  that  of  an  agreeable  or  disagreeable 
condition  is  to  be  regarded  as  nothing,  to  these  questions  we 
could  give  no  satisfactory  answer. 

(83)  We  find  indeed  sometimes  that  we  can  take  an  interest 
in  a  personal  quality  which  does  not  involve  any  interest  of 
external  condition,  provided  this  quality  makes  us  capable  of 
participating  in  the  condition  in  case  reason  were  to  effect  the 
allotment ;  that  is  to  say,  the  mere  being  worthy  of  happiness 
can  interest  of  itself  even  without  the  motive  of  participating  in 
this  happiness.  This  judgment,  however,  is  in  fact  only  the 
effect  of  the  importance  of  the  moral  law  which  we  before  pre 
supposed  (when  by  the  idea  of  freedom  we  detach  ourselves 
from  every  empirical  interest) ;  but  that  we  ought  to  detach 
ourselves  from  these  interests,  i.e.,  to  consider  ourselves  as  free 
in  action  and  yet  as  subject  to  certain  laws,  so  as  to  find  a  worth 
simply  in  our  own  person  which  can  compensate  us  for  the  loss 
of  everything  that  gives  worth  to  our  condition ;  this  we  are  not 
yet  able  to  discern  in  this  way,  nor  do  we  see  how  it  is  possible  so 
to  act — in  other  words,  whence  the  moral  law  derives  its  obligation. 

It  must  be  freely  admitted  that  there  is  a  sort  of  circle  here 
from  which  it  seems  impossible  to  escape.  In  the  order  of 
efficient  causes  we  assume  ourselves  free,  in  order  that  in  the 
order  of  ends  we  may  conceive  ourselves  as  subject  to  moral 
laws  :  and  we  afterwards  conceive  ourselves  as  subject  to  these 
laws,  because  we  have  attributed  to  ourselves  freedom  of  will : 
for  freedom  and  self -legislation  of  will  are  both  autonomy,  and 
therefore  are  reciprocal  conceptions,  and  for  this  very  reason 
one  must  not  be  used  to  explain  the  other  or  give  the  reason  of 
it,  but  at  most  only  for  logical  purposes  to  reduce  apparently 
different  notions  of  the  same  object  to  one  single  concept  (as  we 
reduce  different  fractions  of  the  same  value  to  the  lowest  terms). 

One  resource  remains  to  us,  namely,  to  inquire  whether 
we  do  not  occupy  different  points  of  view  when  by  means  of 

1  ["  Interest "  means  a  spring  of  the  will,  in  so  far  as  this  spring  is 
presented  by  Reason.     See  note,  p.  80.] 


freedom  (34)  we  think  ourselves  as  causes  efficient  d  priori,  and 
when  we  form  our  conception  of  ourselves  from  our  actions  as 
effects  which  we  see  before  our  eyes. 

It  is  a  remark  which  needs  no  subtle  reflection  to  make,  but 
which  we  may  assume  that  even  the  commonest  understanding 
can  make,  although  it  be  after  its  fashion  by  an  obscure  dis 
cernment  of  judgment  which  it  calls  feeling,  that  all  the 
,"  ideas  ;>1  that  come  to  us  involuntarily  (as  those  of  the  senses) 
do  not  enable  us  to  know  objects  otherwise  than  as  they  affect 
us  ;  so  that  what  they  may  be  in  themselves  remains  unknown 
to  us,  and  consequently  that  as  regards  "  ideas  "  of  this  kind 
even  with  the  closest  attention  and  clearness  that  the  under 
standing  can  apply  to  them,  we  can  by  them  only  attain  to  the 
knowledge  of  appearances,  never  to  that  of  things  in  themselves. 
As  soon  as  this  distinction  has  once  been  made  (perhaps  merely 
in  consequence  of  the  difference  observed  between  the  ideas 
given  us  from  without,  and  in  which  we  are  passive,  and  those 
that  we  produce  simply  from  ourselves,  and  in  which  we  show 
our  own  activity),  then  it  follows  of  itself  that  we  must  admit 
and  assume  behind  the  appearance  something  else  that  is  not 
an  appearance,  namely,  the  things  in  themselves ;  although  we 
must  admit  that  as  they  can  never  be  known  to  us  except  as 
they  affect  us,  we  can  come  no  nearer  to  them,  nor  can  we  ever 
know  what  they  are  in  themselves.  This  must  furnish  a  dis 
tinction,  however  crude,  between  a  world  of  sense  and  the  world 
of  understanding,  of  which  the  former  may  be  different  accord 
ing  to  the  difference  of  the  sensuous  impressions  in  various 
observers,  while  the  second  which  is  its  basis  always  remains 
the  same.  Even  as  to  himself,  a  man  cannot  pretend  to  know 
what  he  is  in  himself  from  the  knowledge  he  has  by  internal 
sensation  (35).  For  as  he  does  not  as  it  were  create  himself, 
and  does  not  come  by  the  conception  of  himself  a  priori  but 
empirically,  it  naturally  follows  that  he  can  obtain  his  know 
ledge  even  of  himself  only  by  the  inner  sense,  and  consequently 

1  [The  common  understanding  being  here  spoken  of,  I  use  the  word 
"  idea  "  in  its  popular  sense.] 


only  through  the  appearances  of  his  nature  and  the  way  in 
which  his  consciousness  is  affected.  At  the  same  time  beyond 
these  characteristics  of  his  own  subject,  made  up  of  mere  ap 
pearances,  he  must  necessarily  suppose  something  else  as  their 
basis,  namely,  his  ego,  whatever  its  characteristics  in  itself  may 
be.  Thus  in  respect  to  mere  perception'  and  receptivity  of 
sensations  he  must  reckon  himself  as  belonging  to  the  world  of 
sense  ;  but  in  respect  of  whatever  there  may  be  of  pure  activity 
in  him  (that  which  reaches  consciousness  immediately  and  not 
through  affecting  the  senses)  he  must  reckon  himself  as  belong 
ing  to  the  intellectual  world,  of  which,  however,  he  has  no  further 
knowledge.  To  such  a  conclusion  the  reflecting  man  must 
come  with  respect  to  all  the  things  which  can  be  presented  to 
him  :  it  is  probably  to  be  met  with  even  in  persons  of  the  com 
monest  understanding,  who,  as  is  well  known,  are  very  much 
inclined  to  suppose  behind  the  objects  of  the  senses  something 
else  invisible  and  acting  of  itself.  They  spoil  it,  however,  by 
presently  sensualizing  this  invisible  again  ;  that  is  to  say,  want 
ing  to  make  it  an  object  of  intuition,  so  that  they  do  not  become 
a  whit  the  wiser. 

Now  man  really  finds  in  himself  a  faculty  by  which  he  dis 
tinguishes  himself  from  everything  else,  even  from  himself  as 
affected  by  objects,  and  that  is  Reason.  This  being  pure  spon 
taneity  is  even  elevated  above  the  understanding.  For  although 
the  latter  is  a  spontaneity  and  does  not,  like  sense,  merely  con 
tain  intuitions  that  arise  when  we  are  affected  by  things  (and 
are  therefore  passive),  yet  it  cannot  produce  from  its  activity 
any  other  conceptions  than  those  which  merely  serve  to  briny 
the  intuitions  of  sense  under  rules  (se),  and  thereby  to  unite  them 
in  one  consciousness,  and  without  this  use  of  the  sensibility  it 
could  not  think  at  all ;  whereas,  on  the  contrary,  Reason,  shows 
so  pure  a  spontaneity  in  the  case  of  what  I  call  Ideas  [Ideal 
Conceptions]  that  it  thereby  far  transcends  everything  that 
the  sensibility  can  give  it,  and  exhibits  its  most  important 
function  in  distinguishing  the  world  of  sense  from  that  of 
understanding,  and  thereby  prescribing  the  limits  of  the  under 

standing  itself. 



For  this  reason  a  rational  being  must  regard  himself  qtw. 
intelligence  (not  from  the  side  of  his  lower  faculties)  as  belonging 
not  to  the  world  of  sense,  but  to  that  of  understanding  ;  hence 
he  has  two  points  of  view  from  which  he  can  regard  himself,  and 
recognize  laws  of  the  exercise  of  his  faculties,  and  consequently 
of  all  his  actions  :  first,  so  far  as  he  belongs  to  the  world  of 
sense,  he  finds  himself  subject  to  laws  of  nature  (heteronomy)  ; 
secondly,  as  belonging  to  the  intelligible  world,  under  laws 
which,  being  independent  on  nature,  have  their  foundation  not 
in  experience  but  in  reason  alone. 

As  a  reasonable  being,  and  consequently  belonging  to  the 
intelligible  world,  man  can  never  conceive  the  causality  of  his 
own  will  otherwise  than  on  condition  of  the  idea  of  freedom,  for 
independence  on  the  determining  causes  of  the  sensible  world 
(an  independence  which  Reason  must  always  ascribe  to  itself)  is 
freedom.  Now  the  idea  of  freedom  is  inseparably  connected 
with  the  conception  of  autonomy,  and  this  again  with  the  uni 
versal  principle  of  morality  which  is  ideally  the  foundation  of 
all  actions  of  rational  beings,  just  as  the  law  of  nature  is  of  all 

Now  the  suspicion  is  removed  which  we  raised  above,  that 
there  was  a  latent  circle  involved  in  our  reasoning  from  freedom 
to  autonomy,  and  from  this  to  the  moral  law,  viz.  :  that  we 
laid  down  the  idea  of  freedom  because  of  the  moral  law  only 
that  we  might  afterwards  in  turn  infer  the  latter  from  free 
dom  (37),  and  that  consequently  we  could  assign  no  reason  at 
all  for  this  law,  but  could  only  [present]1  it  as  a  petitio  yrincipii 
which  well-disposed  minds  would  gladly  concede  to  us,  but 
which  we  could  never  put  forward  as  a  provable  proposition. 
For  now  we  see  that  when  we  conceive  ourselves  as  free  we 
transfer  ourselves  into  the  world  of  understanding  as  members 
of  it,  and  recognize  the  autonomy  of  the  will  with  its  conse 
quence,  morality ;  whereas,  if  we  conceive  ourselves  as  under 
obligation,  we  consider  ourselves  as  belonging  to  the  world  of 
sense,  and  at  the  same  time  to  the  world  of  understanding. 

[The  verb  is  wanting  in  the  original.] 

[88]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  *73 

How  is  a  Categorical  Imperative  Possible  ? 

Every  rational  being  reckons  himself  qua  intelligence  as 
belonging  to  the  world  of  understanding,  and  it  is  simply  as 
an  efficient  cause  belonging  to  that  world  that  he  calls  his 
causality  a  will.  On  the  other  side  he  is  also  conscious  of 
himself  as  a  part  of  the  world  of  sense  in  which  his  actions, 
which  are  mere  appearances  [phenomena]  of  that  causality,  are 
displayed ;  we  cannot,  however,  discern  how  they  are  possible 
from  this  causality  which  we  do  not  know ;  but  instead  of  that, 
these  actions  as  belonging  to  the  sensible  world  must  be  viewed 
as  determined  by  other  phenomena,  namely,  desires  and  inclina 
tions.  If  therefore  I  were  only  a  member  of  the  world  of 
understanding,  then  all  my  actions  would  perfectly  conform  to 
the  principle  of  autonomy  of  the  pure  will ;  if  I  were  only  a 
part  of  the  world  of  sense,  they  would  necessarily  be  assumed  to 
conform  wholly  to  the  natural  law  of  desires  and  inclinations, 
in  other  words,  to  the  heteronomy  of  nature.  (The  former 
would  rest  on  morality  as  the  supreme  principle,  the  latter  on 
happiness.)  Since,  however,  the  world  of  understanding:  contains 
the  foundation  of  the  world  of  sense,  and  consequently  of  its  laws 
also,  and  accordingly  gives  the  law  to  my  will  (which  belongs 
wholly  to  the  world  of  understanding)  directly  (ss),  and  must 
be  conceived  as  doing  so,  it  follows  that,  although  on  the  one 
side  I  must  regard  myself  as  a  being  belonging  to  the  world  of 
sense,  yet  on  the  other  side  I  must  recognize  myself  as  subject 
as  an  intelligence  to  the  law  of  the  world  of  understanding, 
i.e.  to  reason,  which  contains  this  law  in  the  idea  of  freedom, 
and  therefore  as  subject  to  the  autonomy  of  the  will :  conse 
quently  I  must  regard  the  laws  of  the  world  of  understanding 
as  imperatives  for  me,  and  the  actions  which  conform  to  them 
as  duties. 

And  thus  what  makes  categorical  imperatives  possible  is  this, 
that  the  idea  of  freedom  makes  me  a  member  of  an  intelligible 
world,  in  consequence  of  which,  if  I  were  nothing  else,  all  my 
actions  would  always  conform  to  the  autonomy  of  the  will ;  but 
as  I  at  the  same  time  intuite  myself  as  a  member  of  the  world 


of  sense,  they  ought  so  to  conform,  and  this  categorical  "  ought " 
implies  a  synthetic  d  priori  proposition,  inasmuch  as  besides  my 
will  as  affected  by  sensible  desires  there  is  added  further  the 
idea  of  the  same  will,  but  as  belonging  to  the  world  of  the 
understanding,  pure  and  practical  of  itself,  which  contains  the 
supreme  condition  according  to  Eeason  of  the  former  will ; 
precisely  as  to  the  intuitions  of  sense  there  are  added  concepts 
of  the  understanding  which  of  themselves  signify  nothing  but 
regular  form  in  general,  and  in  this  way  synthetic  a  priori 
propositions  become  possible,  on  which  all  knowledge  of 
physical  nature  rests. 

The  practical  use  of  common  human  reason  confirms  this 
reasoning.  There  is  no  one, not  even  the  most  consummate  villain, 
provided  only  that  he  is  otherwise  accustomed  to  the  use  of 
reason,  who,  when  we  set  before  him  examples  of  honesty  of 
purpose,  of  steadfastness  in  following  good  maxims,  of  sympathy 
and  general  benevolence  (even  combined  with  great  sacrifices  of 
advantages  and  comfort),  does  not  wish  that  he  might  also 
possess  these  qualities.  Only  on  account  of  his  inclinations 
and  impulses  he  cannot  attain  this  in  himself  (89),  but  at  the 
same  time  he  wishes  to  be  free  from  such  inclinations  which 
are  burdensome  to  himself.  He  proves  by  this  that  he  transfers 
himself  in  thought  with  a  will  free  from  the  impulses  of  the 
sensibility  into  an  order  of  things  wholly  different  from  that 
of  his  desires  in  the  field  of  the  sensibility ;  since  he  cannot 
expect  to  obtain  by  that  wish  any  gratification  of  his  desires, 
nor  any  position  which  would  satisfy  any  of  his  actual  or 
supposable  inclinations  (for  this  would  destroy  the  pre-eminence 
of  the  very  idea  which  wrests  that  wish  from  him) :  he  can 
only  expect  a  greater  intrinsic  worth  of  his  own  person.  This 
better  person,  however,  he  imagines  himself  to  be  when  he 
transfers  himself  to  the  point  of  view  of  a  member  of  the  world 
of  the  understanding,  to  which  he  is  involuntarily  forced 
by  the  idea  of  freedom,  i.e.,  of  independence  on  determining 
causes  of  the  world  of  sense ;  and  from  this  point  of  view  he 
is  conscious  of  a  good  will,  which  by  his  own  confession 
constitutes  the  law  for  the  bad  will  that  he  possesses  as  a 

[90]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  75 

member  of  the  world  of  sense — a  law  whose  authority  he 
recognizes  while  transgressing  it.  What  he  morally  "  ought " 
is  then  what  he  necessarily  "  would  "  as  a  member  of  the  world 
of  the  understanding,  and  is  conceived  by  him  as  an  "  ought " 
only  inasmuch  as  he  likewise  considers  himself  as  a  member  of 
the  world  of  sense. 

On  the  Extreme  Limits  of  all  Practical  Philosophy. 

All  men  attribute  to  themselves  freedom  of  will.  Hence 
come  all  judgments  upon  actions  as  being  such  as  ought  to  have 
been  done,  although  they  have  not  been  done.  However,  this 
freedom  is  not  a  conception  of  experience,  nor  can  it  be  so, 
since  it  still  remains  (90),  even  though  experience  shows  the 
contrary  of  what  on  supposition  of  freedom  are  conceived  as 
its  necessary  consequences.  On  the  other  side  it  is  equally 
necessary  that  everything  that  takes  place  should  be  fixedly 
determined  according  to  laws  of  nature.  This  necessity  of 
nature  is  likewise  not  an  empirical  conception,  just  for  this 
reason,  that  it  involves  the  motion  of  necessity  and  con 
sequently  of  d  priofri  cognition.  But  this  conception  of  a 
system  of  nature  is  confirmed  by  experience ;  and  it  must  even 
be  inevitably  presupposed  ff  experience  itself  is  to  be  possible, 
that  is,  a  connected  knowledge  of  the  objects  of  sense  resting 
on  general  laws.  Therefore  freedom  is  only  an  Idea  [Ideal 
Conception]  of  Eeason,  and  its  objective  reality  in  itself  is 
doubtful ;  while  nature  is  a  concept  of  the  understanding  which 
proves,  and  must  necessarily  prove,  its  reality  in  examples  of 

There  arises  from  this  a  dialectic  of  Reason,  since  the  free 
dom  attributed  to  the  will  appears  to  contradict  the  necessity  of 
nature,  and  placed  between  these  two  ways  Reason  for  specula 
tive  purposes  finds  the  road  of  physical  necessity  much  'more 
beaten  and  more  appropriate  than  that  of  freedom ;  yet  for 
practical  purposes  the  narrow  footpath  of  freedom  is  the  only 
one  on  which  it  is  possible  to  make  use  of  reason  in  our 
conduct  ;  hence  it  is  just  as  impossible  for  the  subtlest 
philosophy  as  for  the  commonest  reason  of  men  to  argue 


away  freedom.  Philosophy  must  then  assume  that  no  real 
contradiction  will  be  found  between  freedom  and  physical 
necessity  of  the  same  human  actions,  for  it  cannot  give  up 
the  conception  of  nature  any  more  than  that  of  freedom. 

Nevertheless,  even  though  we  should  never  be  able  to 
comprehend  how  freedom  is  possible,  we  must  at  least  remove 
this  apparent  contradiction  in  a  convincing  manner.  For  if 
the  thought  of  freedom  contradicts  either  itself  or  nature, 
which  is  equally  necessary  (91),  it  must  in  competition  with 
physical  necessity  be  entirely  given  up. 

It  would,  however,  be  impossible  to  escape  this  contradiction 
if  the  thinking  subject,  which  seems  to  itself  free,  conceived 
itself  in  the  same  sense  or  in  the  very  same  relation  when  it 
calls  itself  free  as  when  in  respect  of  the  same  action  it  assumes 
itself  to  be  subject  to  the  law  of  nature.  Hence  it  is  an 
indispensable  problem  of  speculative  philosophy  to  show  that 
its  illusion  respecting  the  contradiction  rests  on  this,  that  we 
think  of  man  in  a  different  sense  and  relation  when  we  call 
him  free,  and  when  we  regard  him  as  subject  to  the  laws  of 
nature  as  being  part  and  parcel  of  nature.  It  must  therefore 
show  that  not  only  can  both  these  very  well  co-exist,  but 
that  both  must  be  thought  as  necessarily  united  in  the  same 
subject,  since  otherwise  no  reason  could  be  given  why  we 
should  burden  reason  with  an  idea  which,  though  it  may 
possibly  without  contradiction  be  reconciled  with  another  that 
is  sufficiently  established,  yet  entangles  us  in  a  perplexity 
which  sorely  embarrasses  Reason  in  its  theoretic  employment. 
This  duty,  however,  belongs  only  to  speculative  philosophy,  in 
order  that  it  may  clear  the  way  for  practical  philosophy.  The 
philosopher,  then,  has  no  option  whether  he  will  remove  the 
apparent  contradiction  or  leave  it  untouched ;  for  in  the  latter 
case  the  theory  respecting  this  would  be  lonum  vacuns  into  the 
possession  of  which  the  fatalist  would  have  a  right  to  enter,  and 
chase  all  morality  out  of  its  supposed  domain  as  occupying  it 
without  title. 

We  cannot,  however,  as  yet  say  that  we  are  touching  the 
bounds  of  practical  philosophy.  For  the  settlement  of  that 

[92]  METAPHYSIC    OF   MORALS.  77 

controversy  does  not  belong  to  it ;  it  only  demands  from 
speculative  reason  that  it  should  put  an  end  to  the  discord 
in  which  it  entangles  itself  in  theoretical  questions,  so  that 
practical  reason  may  have  rest  and  security  from  external 
attacks  (92)  which  might  make  the  ground  debatable  on  which 
it  desires  to  build. 

The  claims  to  freedom  of  will  made  even  by  common  reason 
are  founded  on  the  consciousness  and  the  admitted  supposition 
that  reason  is  independent  on  merely  subjectively  determined 
causes  which  together  constitute  what  belongs  to  sensation  only, 
and  which  consequently  come  under  the  general  designation  of 
sensibility.  Man  considering  himself  in  this  way  as  an  intelli 
gence  places  himself  thereby  in  a  different  order  of  things  and 
in  a  relation  to  determining  grounds  of  a  wholly  different  kind 
when  on  the  one  hand  he  thinks  of  himself  as  an  intelligence 
endowed  with  a  will,  and  consequently  with  causality,  and 
when  on  the  other  he  perceives  himself  as  a  phenomenon  in  the 
world  of  sense  (as  he  really  is  also),  and  affirms  that  his 
causality  is  subject  to  external  determination  according  to  laws 
of  nature.1  Now  he  soon  becomes  aware  that  both  can  hold 
good,  nay,  must  hold  good  at  the  same  time.  For  there  is  not 
the  smallest  contradiction  in  saying  that  a  thing  in  appearance 
(belonging  to  the  world  of  sense)  is  subject  to  certain  laws,  on 
which  the  very  same  as  a  thing  or  being  in  itself  is  independent ; 
and  that  he  must  conceive  and  think  of  himself  in  this  two- fold 
way.  rests  as  to  the  first  on  the  consciousness  of  himself  as  an 
object  affected  through  the  senses,  and  as  to  the  second  on  the 
consciousness  of  himself  as  an  intelligence,  i.e.,  as  independent 
on  sensible  impressions  in  the  employment  of  his  reason  (in 
other  words  as  belonging  to  the  world  of  understanding). 

Hence  it  comes  to  pass  that  man  claims  the  possession  of  a 
will  which  takes  no  account  of  anything  that  comes  under  the 
head  of  desires  and  inclinations,  and  on  the  contrary  conceives 

1  [The  punctuation  of  the  original  gives  the  following  sense  : 
"  Submits  his  causality,  as  regards  its  external  determination,  to  laws 
of  nature."  I  have  ventured  to  make  what  appears  to  be  a  necessary 
correction,  by  simply  removing  a  comma.] 


actions  as  possible  to  him,  nay,  even  as  necessary,  which  can 
only  be  done  by  disregarding  all  desires  and  sensible  inclina 
tions.  The  causality  of  such  actions1  lies  in  him  as  an  intelli 
gence  and  in  the  laws  of  effects  and  actions  [which  depend]  on 
the  principles  (93)  of  an  intelligible  world,  of  which  indeed  he 
knows  nothing  more  than  that  in  it  pure  reason  alone  indepen 
dent  on  sensibility  gives  the  law  ;  moreover  since  it  is  only  in 
that  world,  as  an  intelligence,  that  he  is  his  proper  self  (being 
as  man  only  the  appearance  of  himself)  those  laws  apply  to  him 
directly  and  categorically,  so  that  the  incitements  of  inclina 
tions  and  appetites  (in  other  words  the  whole  nature  of  the 
world  of  sense)  cannot  impair  the  laws  of  his  volition  as  an 
intelligence.  Nay,  he  does  not  even  hold  himself  responsible 
for  the  former  or  ascribe  them  to  his  proper  self,  i.e.,  his  will : 
he  only  ascribes  to  his  will  any  indulgence  which  he  might 
yield  them  if  he  allowed  them  to  influence  his  maxims  to  the 
prejudice  of  the  rational  laws  of  the  will. 

When  practical  Reason  thinks  itself  into  a  world  of  under 
standing,  it  does  not  thereby  transcend  its  own  limits,  as  it 
would  if  it  tried  to  enter  it  by  intuition  or  sensation.  The 
former  is  only  a  negative  thought  in  respect  of  the  world  of 
sense,  which  does  not  give  any  laws  to  reason  in  deter 
mining  the  will,  and  is  positive  only  in  this  single  point  that 
this  freedom  as  a  negative  characteristic  is  at  the  same  time 
conjoined  with  a  (positive)  faculty  and  even  with  a  causality 
of  reason,  which  we  designate  a  will,  namely,  a  faculty  of 
so  acting  that  the  principle  of  the  actions  shall  conform  to 
the  essential  character  of  a  rational  motive,  i.e.,  the  condition 
that  the  maxim  have  universal  validity  as  a  law.  But  were  it 
to  borrow  an  object  of  will,  that  is,  a  motive,  from  the  world  of 
understanding,  then  it  would  overstep  its  bounds  and  pretend 
to  be  acquainted  with  something  of  which  it  knows  nothing. 
The  conception  of  a  world  of  the  understanding  is  then  only  a 
point  of  view  which  Reason  finds  itself  compelled  to  take  outside 
the  appearances  in  order  to  conceive  itself  as  practical,  which 

1  [M.  Barni  translates  as  if  he  read  dessdben,  instead  of  derselben,  "  the 
causality  of  this  will."  So  also  Mr.  Semple.] 

[95]  METAPHYSIC    OF   MORALS.  70 

would  not  be  possible  if  the  influences  of  the  sensibility  had  a 
determining  power  on  man  (94),  but  which  is  necessary  unless 
he  is  to  be  denied  the  consciousness  of  himself  as  an  intelligence, 
and  consequently  as  a  rational  cause,  energizing  by  reason, 
that  is,  operating  freely.  This  thought  certainly  involves 
the  idea  of  an  order  and  a  system  of  laws  different  from 
that  of  the  mechanism  of  nature  which  belongs  to  the  sensible 
world ;  and  it  makes  the  conception  of  an  intelligible  world 
necessary  (that  is  to  say,  the  whole  system  of  rational  beings 
as  things  in  themselves).  But  it  does  not  in  the  least  authorize 
us  to  think  of  it  further  than  as  to  its  formal  condition  only, 
that  is,  the  universality  of  the  maxims  of  the  will  as  laws,  and 
consequently  the  autonomy  of  the  latter,  which  alone  is  con 
sistent  with  its  freedom  ;  whereas,  on  the  contrary,  all  laws 
that  refer  to  a  definite  object  give  heteronomy,  which  only 
belongs  to  laws  of  nature,  and  can  only  apply  to  the  sensible 

But  Eeason  would  overstep  all  its  bounds  if  it  undertook 
to  explain  Iww  pure  reason  can  be  practical,  which  would  be 
exactly  the  same  problem  as  to  explain  Iww  freedom  is  jwssible. 

For  we  can  explain  nothing  but  that  which  we  can  reduce 
to  laws,  the  object  of  which  can  be  given  in  some  possible 
experience.  But  freedom  is  a  mere  Idea  [Ideal  Conception], 
the  objective  reality  of  which  can  in  no  wise  be  shown  according 
to  laws  of  nature,  and  consequently  not  in  any  possible  ex 
perience  ;  and  for  this  reason  it  can  never  be  comprehended  or 
understood,  because  we  cannot  support  it  by  any  sort  of  example 
or  analogy.  It  holds  good  only  as  a  necessary  hypothesis  of 
reason  in  a  being  that  believes  itself  conscious  of  a  will,  that 
is,  of  a  faculty  distinct  from  mere  desire  (namely,  a  faculty  of 
determining  itself  to  action  as  an  intelligence,  in  other  words, 
by  laws  of  reason  independently  on  natural  instincts)  (95).  Now 
where  determination  according  to  laws  of  nature  ceases,  there 
all  explanation  ceases  also,  and  nothing  remains  but  defence,  i.e., 
the  removal  of  the  objections  of  those  who  pretend  to  have  seen 
deeper  into  the  nature  of  things,  and  thereupon  boldly  declare 
freedom  impossible.  "We  can  only  point  out  to  them  that  the 


supposed  contradiction  that  they  have  discovered  in  it  arises 
only  from  this,  that  in  order  to  be  able  to  apply  the  law  of 
nature  to  human  actions,  they  must  necessarily  consider  man  as 
an  appearance  :  then  when  we  demand  of  them  that  they  should 
also  think  of  -him  qua  intelligence  as  a  thing  in  itself,  they  still 
persist  in  considering  him  in  this  respect  also  as  an  appearance. 
In  this  view  it  would  no  doubt  be  a  contradiction  to  suppose 
the  causality  of  the  same  subject  (that  is,  his  will)  to  be  with 
drawn  from  all  the  natural  laws  of  the  sensible  world.  But 
this  contradiction  disappears,  if  they  would  only  bethink  them 
selves  and  admit,  as  is  reasonable,  that  behind  the  appearances 
there  must  also  lie  at  their  root  (although  hidden)  the  things  in 
themselves,  and  that  we  cannot  expect  the  laws  of  these  to  be 
the  same  as  those  that  govern  their  appearances. 

The  subjective  impossibility  of  explaining  the  freedom  of 
the  will  is  identical  with  the  impossibility  of  discovering  and 
explaining  an  interest1  which  (96;  man  can  take  in  the  moral 
law.  Nevertheless  he  does  actually  take  an  interest  in  it,  the 
basis  of  which  in  us  we  call  the  moral  feeling,  which  some 
have  falsely  assigned  as  the  standard  of  our  moral  judgment, 
whereas  it  must  rather  be  viewed  as  the  subjective  effect  that 
the  law  exercises  on  the  will,  the  objective  principle  of  which 
is  furnished  by  Keason  alone. 

In  order,  indeed,  that  a  rational  being  who  is  also  affected 
through  the  senses  should  will  what  Reason  alone  directs  such 

1  Interest  is  that  by  which  reason  becomes  practical,  i.e.,  a  cause 
determining  the  will.  Hence  we  say  of  rational  beings  only  that  they 
take  an  interest  in  a  thing  ;  irrational  beings  only  feel  sensual  appetites. 
Reason  takes  a  direct  interest  in  action,  then,  only  when  the  universal 
validity  of  its  maxims  is  alone  sufficient  to  determine  the  will.  Such 
an  interest  alone  is  pure.  But  if  it  can  determine  the  will  only  by 
means  of  another  object  of  desire  or  on  the  suggestion  of  a  particular 
feeling  of  the  subject,  then  Reason  takes  only  an  indirect  interest  in 
the  action  ;  and  as  Reason  by  itself  without  experience  cannot  discover 
either  objects  of  the  will  or  a  special  feeling  actuating  it,  this  latter 
interest  would  only  be  empirical,  and  not  a  pure  rational  interest.  The 
logical  interest  of  Reason  (namely,  to  extend  its  insight)  is  never 
direct,  but  presupposes  purposes  for  which  reason  is  employed. 

[97]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  81 

beings  that  they  ought  to  will,  it  is  no  doubt  requisite  that 
reason  should  have  a  power  to  infuse  a  feeling  of  pleasure  or 
satisfaction  in  the  fulfilment  of  duty,  that  is  to  say,  that  it 
should  have  a  causality  by  which  it  determines  the  sensibility 
according  to  its  own  principles.  But  it  is  quite  impossible  to 
discern,  i.  e.  to  make  it  intelligible  d  priori,  how  a  mere  thought, 
which  itself  contains  nothing  sensible,  can  itself  produce  a 
sensation  of  pleasure  or  pain ;  for  this  is  a  particular  kind  of 
causality  of  which  as  of  every  other  causality  we  can  determine 
nothing  whatever  d  priori ;  we  must  only  consult  experience 
about  it.  But  as  this  cannot  supply  us  with  any  relation  of 
cause  and  effect  except  between  two  objects  of  experience, 
whereas  in  this  case,  although  indeed  the  effect  produced  lies 
within  experience,  yet  the  cause  is  supposed  to  be  pure  reason 
acting  through  mere  ideas  which  offer  no  object  to  experi 
ence,  it  follows  that  for  us  men  it  is  quite  impossible  to 
explain  how  and  why  the  universality  of  the  maxim  as  a  law, 
that  is,  morality,  interests.  This  only  is  certain,  that  it  is 
not  because  it  interests  us  that  it  has  validity  for  us  (for  that 
would  be  heteronomy  and  dependence  of  practical  reason  on 
sensibility,  namely,  on  a  feeling  as  its  principle,  in  which  case 
it  could  never  give  moral  laws)  (97),  but  that  it  interests  us 
because  it  is  valid  for  us  as  men,  inasmuch  as  it  had  its  source 
in  our  will  as  intelligences,  in  other  words  in  our  proper  self, 
and  what  belongs  to  mere  appearance  is  necessarily  subordinated 
by  reason  to  the  nature  of  the  thing  in  itself. 

The  question  then  :  How  a  categorical  imperative  is  pos 
sible  can  be  answered  to  this  extent  that  we  can  assign  the  only 
hypothesis  on  which  it  is  possible,  namely,  the  idea  of  freedom  ; 
and  we  can  also  discern  the  necessity  of  this  hypothesis,  and  this 
is  sufficient  for  the  practical  exercise  of  reason,  that  is,  for  the 
conviction  of  the  validity  of  this  imperative,  and  hence  of  the 
moral  law ;  but  how  this  hypothesis  itself  is  possible  can  never 
be  discerned  by  any  human  reason.  On  the  hypothesis,  how 
ever,  that  the  will  of  an  intelligence  is  free,  its  autonomy,  as  the 
essential  formal  condition  of  its  determination,  is  a  necessary 
consequence.  Moreover,  this  freedom  of  will  is  not  merely  quite 



possible  as  a  hypothesis  (not  involving  any  contradiction  to  the 
principle  of  physical  necessity  in  the  connexion  of  the  phe 
nomena  of  the  sensible  world)  as  speculative  philosophy  can 
show  :  but  further,  a  rational  being  who  is  conscious  of  a 
causality1  through  reason,  that  is  to  say,  of  a  will  (distinct  from 
desires),  must  of  necessity  make  it  practically,  that  is,  in  idea, 
the  condition  of  all  his  voluntary  actions.  But  to  explain  how 
pure  reason  can  be  of  itself  practical  without  the  aid  of  any 
spring  of  action  that  could  be  derived  from  any  other  source, 
i.e.  how  the  mere  principle  of  the  universal  validity  of  all  its 
maxims  as  laws  (which  would  certainly  be  the  form  of  a  pure 
practical  reason)  can  of  itself  supply  a  spring,  without  any 
matter  (object)  of  the  will  in  which  one  could  antecedently  take 
any  interest  (93) ;  and  how  it  can  produce  an  interest  which 
would  be  called  purely  moral ;  or  in  other  words,  how  pure 
reason  can  be  practical — to  explain  this  is  beyond  the  power  of 
human  reason,  and  all  the  labour  and  pains  of  seeking  an 
explanation  of  it  are  lost. 

It  is  just  the  same  as  if  I  sought  to  find  out  how  freedom 
itself  is  possible  as  the  causality  of  a  will.  For  then  I  quit  the 
ground  of  philosophical  explanation;  and  I  have  no  other  to  go 
upon.  I  might  indeed  revel  in  the  world  of  intelligences  which 
still  remains  to  me,  but  although  I  have  an  idea  of  it  which  is 
well  founded,  yet  I  have  not  the  least  knowledge  of  it,  nor  can  I 
ever  attain  to  such  knowledge  with  all  the  efforts  of  my  natural 
faculty  of  reason.  It  signifies  only  a  something  that  remains 
over  when  I  have  eliminated  everything  belonging  to  the  world 
of  sense  from  the  actuating  principles  of  my  will,  serving 
merely  to  keep  in  bounds  the  principle  of  motives  taken  from 
the  field  of  sensibility ;  fixing  its  limits  and  showing  that  it 
does  not  contain  all  in  all  within  itself,  but  that  there  is  more 
beyond  it;  but  this  something  more  I  know  no  further.  Of 
pure  reason  which  frames  this  ideal,  there  remains  after  the 
abstraction  of  all  matter,  i.e.  knowledge  of  objects,  nothing  but 
the  form,  namely,  the  practical  law  of  the  universality  of  the 

1  [Reading  "  einer"  for  "seiner."] 


maxims,  and  in  conformity  with  this  the  conception  of  reason 
in  reference  to  a  pure  world  of  understanding  as  a  possible 
efficient  cause,  that  is  a  cause  determining  the  will.  There 
must  here  be  a  total  absence  of  springs  ;  unless  this  idea  of  an 
intelligible  world  is  itself  the  spring,  or  that  in  which  reason 
primarily  takes  an  interest ;  but  to  make  this  intelligible  is 
precisely  the  problem  that  we  cannot  solve. 

Here  now  is  the  extreme  limit  of  all  moral  inquiry  (99),  and 
it  is  of  great  importance  to  determine  it  even  on  this  account,  in 
order  that  reason  may  not  on  the  one  hand,  to  the  prejudice  of 
morals,  seek  about  in  the  world  of  sense  for  the  supreme  motive 
and  an  interest  comprehensible  but  empirical ;  and  on  the  other 
hand,  that  it  may  not  impotently  flap  its  wings  without  being 
able  to  move  in  the  (for  it]  empty  space  of  transcendent  con 
cepts  which  we  call  the  intelligible  world,  and  so  lose  itself 
amidst  chimeras.  For  the  rest,  the  idea  of  a  pure  world  of 
understanding  as  a  system  of  all  intelligences,  and  to  which  we 
ourselves  as  rational  beings  belong  (although  we  are  likewise 
on  the  other  side  members  of  the  sensible  world),  this  remains 
always  a  useful  and  legitimate  idea  for  the  purposes  of  rational 
belief,  although  all  knowledge  stops  at  its  threshold,  useful, 
namely,  to  produce  in  us  a  lively  interest  in  the  moral  law  by 
means  of  the  noble  ideal  of  a  universal  kingdom  of  ends  in 
themselves  (rational  beings),  to  which  we  can  belong  as  members 
then  only  when  we  carefully  conduct  ourselves  according  to  the 
maxims  of  freedom  as  if  they  were  laws  of  nature. 

Concluding  Remark. 

The  speculative  employment  of  reason  with  respect  to  nature 
leads  to  the  absolute  necessity  of  some  supreme  cause  of  the 
world :  the  practical  employment  of  reason  with  a  view  to 
freedom  leads  also  to  absolute  necessity,  but  only  of  the  laws  of 
the  actions  of  a  rational  being  as  such.  Now  it  is  an  essential 
principle  of  reason,  however  employed,  to  push  its  knowledge  to 
a  consciousness  of  its  necessity  (without  which  it  would  not  be 
rational  knowledge).  It  is,  however,  an  equally  essential  re 
striction  of  the  same  reason  that  it  can  neither  discern  the 



necessity  (100)  of  what  is  or  what  happens,  nor  of  what  ought  to 
hi  ppen,  unless  a  condition  is  supposed  on  which  it  is  or  happens 
or  ought  to  happen.  In  this  way,  however,  by  the  constant 
inquiry  for  the  condition,  the  satisfaction  of  reason  is  only 
further  and  further  postponed.  Hence  it  unceasingly  seeks  the 
unconditionally  necessary,  and  finds  itself  forced  to  assume  it, 
although  without  any  means  of  making  it  comprehensible  to 
itself,  happy  enough  if  only  it  can  discover  a  conception  which 
agrees  with  this  assumption.  It  is  therefore  no  fault  in  our 
deduction  of  the  supreme  principle  of  morality,  but  an  objec 
tion  that  should  be  made  to  human  reason  in  general,  that  it 
cannot  enable  us  to  conceive  the  absolute  necessity  of  an 
unconditional  practical  law  (such  as  the  categorical  imperative 
must  be).  It  cannot  be  blamed  for  refusing  to  explain  this 
necessity  by  a  condition,  that  is  to  say,  by  means  of  some 
interest  assumed  as  a  basis,  since  the  law  would  then  cease  to  be 
a  moral  law,  i.e.  a  supreme  law  of  freedom.  And  thus  while 
we  do  not  comprehend  the  practical  unconditional  necessity  of 
the  moral  imperative,  we  yet  comprehend  its  incomprehensibility, 
and  this  is  all  that  can  be  fairly  demanded  of  a  philosophy 
which  strives  to  carry  its  principles  up  to  the  very  limit  of 
human  reason. 





THIS  WORK  is  called  the  "Critical  Examination  of 
Practical  Reason,"  not  of  the  pure  practical  reason, 
although  its  parallelism  with  the  speculative  critique  would 
seem  to  require  the  latter  term.  The  reason  of  this  appears 
sufficiently  from  the  treatise  itself.  Its  business  is  to  show 
that  there  is  pure  practical  reason,  and  for  this  purpose  it  criti 
cizes  the  entire  practical  faculty  of  reason.  If  it  succeeds  in 
this,  it  has  no  need  to  criticize  the  pure  faculty  itself  in  order 
to  see  whether  reason  in  making  such  a  claim  does  not  pre 
sumptuously  overstep  itself  (as  is  the  case  with  the  speculative 
reason).  For  if,  as  pure  reason,  it  is  actually  practical,  it 
proves  its  own  reality  and  that  of  its  concepts  by  fact,  and  all 
disputation  against  the  possibility  of  its  being  real  is  futile. 

With  this  faculty,  transcendental  freedom  is  also  established  ; 
freedom,  namely,  in  that  absolute  sense  in  which  speculative 
reason  required  it  in  its  use  of  the  concept  of  causality  in  order 
to  escape  the  antinomy  into  which  it  inevitably  falls,  when  in 
the  chain  of  cause  and  effect  it  tries  to  think  the  unconditioned. 
Speculative  reason  could  only  exhibit  this  concept  (of  freedom) 
problematically  as  not  impossible  to  thought,  without  assuring 
it  any  objective  reality,  and  merely  lest  the  supposed  impos 
sibility  of  what  it  must  at  least  allow  to  be  thinkable  (IOB) 


should  endanger  its  very  being  and  plunge  it  into  an  abyss 
of  scepticism. 

Inasmuch  as  the  reality  of  the  concept  of  freedom  is  proved 
by  an  apodictic  law  of  practical  reason,  it  is  the  keystone  of  the 
whole  system  of  pure  reason,  even  the  speculative,  and  all 
other  concepts  (those  of  God  and  immortality)  which,  as  being 
mere  ideas,  remain  in  it  unsupported,  now  attach  themselves 
to  this  concept,  and  by  it  obtain  consistence  and  objective 
reality ;  that  is  to  say,  their  possibility  is  proved  by  the  fact 
that  freedom  actually  exists,  for  this  idea  is  revealed  by  the 
moral  law. 

Freedom,  however,  is  the  only  one  of  all  the  ideas  of  the 
speculative  reason  of  which  we  know  the  possibility  a  priori 
(without,  however,  understanding  it),  because  it  is  the  con 
dition  of  the  moral  law  which  we  know.1  The  ideas  of  God 
and  Immortality,  however,  are  not  conditions  of  the  moral 
law,  but  only  conditions  of  the  necessary  object  of  a  will 
determined  by  this  law :  that  is  to  say,  conditions  of  the 
practical  use  of  our  pure  reason.  Hence  with  respect  to 
these  ideas  we  cannot  affirm  that  we  know  and  understand,  I 
will  not  say  the  actuality,  but  even  the  possibility  of  them. 
However,  they  are  the  conditions  of  the  application  of  the 
morally  (10?)  determined  will  to  its  object,  which  is  given  to 

1  Lest  anyone  should  imagine  that  he  finds  an  inconsistency  here  when 
I  call  freedom  the  condition  of  the  moral  law,  and  hereafter  maintain  in 
the  treatise  itself  that  the  moral  law  is  the  condition  under  which  we  can 
first  become  conscious  of  freedom,  I  will  merely  remark  that  freedom  is  the 
ratio  essendi  of  the  moral  law,  while  the  moral  law  is  the  ratio  cognoscendi 
of  freedom.  For  had  not  the  moral  law  been  previously  distinctly  thought 
in  our  reason,  we  should  never  consider  ourselves  justified  in  assumiiig 
such  a  thing  as  freedom,  although  it  be  not  contradictory.  But  were 
there  no  freedom,  it  would  be  impossible  to  trace  the  moral  law  in  ourselves 
;it  all. 

[107]  OF   PEACTICAL  REASON.  89 

it  d  priori,  viz.,  the  summum  bonum.  Consequently  in  this 
practical  point  of  view  their  possibility  must  be  assumed, 
although  we  cannot  theoretically  know  and  understand  it. 
To  justify  this  assumption  it  is  sufficient,  in  a  practical  point 
of  view,  that  they  contain  no  intrinsic  impossibility  (contra 
diction).  Here  we  have  what,  as  far  as  speculative  reason 
is  concerned,  is  a  merely  subjective  principle  of  assent,  which, 
however,  is  objectively  valid  for  a  reason  equally  pure  but 
practical,  and  this  principle,  by  means  of  the  concept  of 
freedom,  assures  objective  reality  and  authority  to  the  ideas 
of  God  and  Immortality.  Nay,  there  is  a  subjective  necessity 
(a  need  of  pure  reason)  to  assume  them.  Nevertheless  the 
theoretical  knowledge  of  reason  is  not  hereby  enlarged,  but 
only  the  possibility  is  given,  which  heretofore  was  merely 
a  problem,  and  now  becomes  assertion,  and  thus  the  practical 
use  of  reason  is  connected  with  the  elements  of  theoretical 
reason.  And  this  need  is  not  a  merely  hypothetical  one  for 
the  arbitrary  purposes  of  speculation,  that  we  must  assume 
something  if  we  wish  in  speculation  to  carry  reason  to  its 
utmost  limits,  but  it"  is  a  need  which  has  the  force  of  law  to 
assume  something  without  which  that  cannot  be  which  we  must 
inevitably  set  before  us  as  the  aim  of  our  action. 

It  would  certainly  be  more  satisfactory  to  our  speculative 
reason  if  it  could  solve  these  problems  for  itself  without  this 
circuit,  and  preserve  the  solution  for  practical  use  as  a  thing 
to  be  referred  to,  but  in  fact  our  faculty  of  speculation  is 
not  so  well  provided.  Those  who  boast  of  such  high  know 
ledge  ought  not  to  keep  it  back,  but  to  exhibit  it  publicly 
that  it  may  be  tested  and  appreciated.  They  want  to  prove  : 
very  good,  let  them  prove ;  and  the  critical  philosophy  lays 
its  arms  at  their  feet  as  the  victors.  "  Quid  statis  ?  Nolint. 


Atqui  licet  esse  beatis."  As  they  then  do  not  in  fact  choose 
to  do  so,  probably  because  (ios)  they  cannot,  we  must  take  up 
these  arms  again  in  order  to  seek  in  the  mortal  use  of  reason, 
and  to  base  on  this,  the  notions  of  God,  freedom,  and  immor 
tality,  the  possibility  of  which  speculation  cannot  adequately 

Here  first  is  explained  the  enigma  of  the  critical  philosophy, 
viz.  how  we  deny  objective  reality  to  the  supersensible  use  of 
the  categories  in  speculation,  and  yet  admit  this  reality  with 
respect  to  the  objects  of  pure  practical  reason.  This  must 
at  first  seem  inconsistent  as  long  as  this  practical  use  is  only 
nominally  known.  But  when,  by  a  thorough  analysis  of  it, 
one  becomes  aware  that  the  reality  spoken  of  does  not  imply 
any  theoretical  determination  of  the  categories,  and  extension 
of  our  knowledge  to  the  supersensible  ;  but  that  what  is 
meant  is  that  in  this  respect  an  object  belongs  to  them,  be 
cause  either  they  are  contained  in  the  necessary  determination 
of  the  will  a  priori,  or  are  inseparably  connected  with  its 
object;  then  this  inconsistency  disappears,  because  the  use 
we  make  of  these  concepts  is  different  from  what  specula 
tive  reason  requires.  On  the  other  hand,  there  now  appears 
an  unexpected  and  very  satisfactory  proof  of  the  consistency 
of  the  speculative  critical  philosophy.  For  whereas  it  insisted 
that  the  objects  of  experience  as  such,  including  our  own 
subject,  have  only  the  value  of  phenomena,  while  at  the  same 
time  things  in  themselves  must  be  supposed  as  their  basis, 
so  that  not  everything  supersensible  was  to  be  regarded  as 
a  fiction  and  its  concepts  as  empty ;  so  now  practical  reason 
itself,  without  any  concert  with  the  speculative,  assures  reality 
to  a  supersensible  object  of  the  category  of  causality,  viz. 
Freedom,  although  (as  becomes  a  practical  concept)  (109)  only 

[109]  OF  PRACTICAL  REASON.  91 

for  practical  use ;  and  this  establishes  on  the  evidence  of  a 
fact  that  which  in  the  former  case  could  only  be  conceived. 
By  this  the  strange  but  certain  doctrine  of  the  speculative 
critical  philosophy,  that  the  thinking  subject  is  to  itself  in 
internal  intuition  only  a  phenomenon,  obtains  in  the  critical 
examination  of  the  practical  reason  its  full  confirmation,  and 
that  so  thoroughly  that  we  should  be  compelled  to  adopt 
this  doctrine,  even  if  the  former  had  never  proved  it  at  all.1 
By  this  also  I  can  understand  why  the  most  consider 
able  objections  which  I  have  as  yet  met  with  against  the 
Critique  turn  about  these  two  points,  namely,  on  the  one 
side,  the  objective  reality  of  the  categories  as  applied  to 
noumena,  which  is  in  the  theoretical  department  of  know 
ledge  denied,  in  the  practical  affirmed;  and  on  the  other 
side,  the  paradoxical  demand  to  regard  oneself  qua  subject 
of  freedom  as  a  noumenon,  and  at  the  same  time  from  the 
point  of  view  of  physical  nature  as  a  phenomenon  in  one's 
own  empirical  consciousness ;  for  as  long  as  one  has  formed 
no  definite  notions  of  morality  and  freedom,  one  could  not 
conjecture  on  the  one  side  what  was  intended  to  be  the 
noumenon,  the  basis  of  the  alleged  phenomenon,  and  on  the 
other  side  it  seemed  doubtful  whether  it  was  at  all  possible 
to  form  any  notion  of  it,  seeing  that  we  had  previously 
assigned  all  the  notions  of  the  pure  understanding  in  its 
theoretical  use  exclusively  to  phenomena.  Nothing  but  a 
detailed  criticism  of  the  practical  reason  can  remove  all  this 

1  The  union  of  causality  as  freedom  with  causality  as  rational  mechanism, 
the  former  established  by  the  moral  law,  the  latter  by  the  law  of  nature  in 
the  same  subject,  namely,  man,  is  impossible,  unless  we  conceive  him  with 
reference  to  the  former  as  a  being  in  himself,  and  with  reference  to  the 
latter  as  a  phenomenon — the  former  in  pure  consciousness,  the  latter  in 
empirical  consciousness.  Otherwise  reason  inevitably  contradicts  itself. 


misapprehension,   and   set   in    a    clear   light   the    consistency 
which  constitutes  its  greatest  merit. 

(no)  So/  much  by  way  of  justification  of  the  proceeding 
by  which,  in  this  work,  the  notions  and  principles  of  pure 
speculative  reason  which  have  already  undergone  their  special 
critical  examination,  are,  now  and  then,  again  subjected  to 
examination.  This  would  not  in  other  cases  be  in  accordance 
with  the  systematic  process  by  which  a  science  is  established, 
since  matters  which  have  been  decided  ought  only  to  be 
cited  and  not  again  discussed.  In  this  case,  however,  it  was 
not  only  allowable  but  necessary,  because  Reason  is  here 
considered  in  transition  to  a  different  use  of  these  concepts 
from  what  it  had  made  of  them  before.  Such  a  transition 
necessitates  a  comparison  of  the  old  and  the  new  usage,  in 
order  to  distinguish  well  the  new  path  from  the  old  one,  and, 
at  the  same  time,  to  allow  their  connexion  to  be  observed. 
Accordingly  considerations  of  this  kind,  including  those  which 
are  once  more  directed  to  the  concept  of  freedom  in  the 
practical  use  of  the  pure  reason,  must  not  be  regarded  as  an 
interpolation  serving  only  to  fill  up  the  gaps  in  the  critical 
system  of  speculative  reason  (for  this  is  for  its  own  purpose 
complete),  or  like  the  props  and  buttresses  which  in  a  hastily 
constructed  building  are  often  added  afterwards;  but  as  true 
members  which  make  the  connexion  of  the  system  plain,  and 
show  us  concepts,  here  presented  as  real,  which  there  could 
only  be  presented  problematically.  This  remark  applies 
especially  to  the  concept  of  freedom,  respecting  which  one 
cannot  but  observe  with  surprise,  that  so  many  boast  of  being 
able  to  understand  it  quite  well,  and  to  explain  its  possibility, 
while  they  regard  it  only  psychologically,  whereas  if  they 
had  studied  it  in  a  transcendental  point  of  view,  they  must 

[ill]  OF  PEACTICAL  KEASON.  93 

have  recognized  that  it  is  not  only  indispensable  as  a  prob 
lematical  concept,  in  the  complete  use  of  speculative  reason, 
but  also  quite  incomprehensible  (111) ;  and  if  they  afterwards 
came  to  consider  its  practical  use,  they  must  needs  have 
come  to  the  very  mode  of  determining  the  principles  of  this, 
to  which  they  are  now  so  loth  to  assent.  The  concept  of 
freedom  is  the  stone  of  stumbling  for  all  empiricists,  but  at 
the  same  time  the  key  to  the  loftiest  practical  principles  for 
critical  moralists,  who  perceive  by  its  means  that  they  must 
necessarily  proceed  by  a  rational  method.  For  this  reason  I 
beg  the  reader  not  to  pass  lightly  over  what  is  said  of  this 
concept  at  the  end  of  the  Analytic. 

I  must  leave  it  to  those  who  are  acquainted  with  works 
of  this  kind  to  judge  whether  such  a  system  as  that  of  the 
practical  reason,  which  is  here  developed  from  the  critical 
examination  of  it,  has  cost  much  or  little  trouble,  especially 
in  seeking  not  to  miss  the  true  point  of  view  from  which 
the  whole  can  be  rightly  sketched.  It  presupposes,  indeed, 
the  Fundamental  Principles  of  the  Metaphysic  of  Morals,  but 
only  in  so  far  as  this  gives  a  preliminary  acquaintance  with 
the  principle  of  duty,  and  assigns  and  justifies  a  definite 
formula  thereof ;  in  other  respects  it  is  independent.1  It 
results  from  the  nature  of  this  practical  faculty  itself  that 

1  A  reviewer  who  wanted  to  find  some  fault  with  this  work  has  hit 
the  truth  better,  perhaps,  than  he  thought,  when  he  says  that  no  new 
principle  of  morality  is  set  forth  in  it,  but  only  a  new  formula.  But 
who  would  think  of  introducing  a  new  principle  of  all  morality,  and 
making  himself  as  it  were  the  first  discoverer  of  it,  just  as  if  all  the 
world  before  him  were  ignorant  what  duty  was  or  had  been  in  thorough 
going  error  ?  But  whoever  knows  of  what  importance  to  a  mathematician 
a  formula  is,  which  defines  accurately  what  is  to  be  done  to  work  a 
problem,  will  not  think  that  a  formula  is  insignificant  and  useless  which 
does  the  same  for  all  duty  in  general. 


the  complete  classification  of  all  practical  sciences  cannot  be 
added,  as  in  the  critique  of  the  speculative  reason  (112).  For 
it  is  not  possible  to  define  duties  specially,  as  human  duties, 
with  a  view  to  their  classification,  until  the  subject  of  this 
definition  (viz.  man)  is  known  according  to  his  actual  nature, 
at  least  so  far  as  is  necessary  with  respect  to  duty ;  this, 
however,  does  not  belong  to  a  critical  examination  of  the 
practical  reason,  the  business  of  which  is  only  to  assign  in 
a  complete  manner  the  principles  of  its  possibility,  extent, 
and  limits,  without  special  reference  to  human  nature.  The 
classification  then  belongs  to  the  system  of  science,  not  to 
the  system  of  criticism. 

In  the  second  part  of  the  Analytic  I  have  given,  as  I 
trust,  a  sufficient  answer  to  the  objection  of  a  truth-loving 
and  acute  critic1  of  the  Fundamental  Principles  of  the  Meta- 
physic  of  Morals — a  critic  always  worthy  of  respect — the  ob 
jection,  namely,  that  the  notion  of  good  was  not  established  before 
the  moral  principle,  as  he  thinks  it  ought  to  have  been2  (113). 

1  [Probably  Professor  Garve.     See  Kant's  "  Das  mag  in  Der  Theorie 
richtig  seyn,  etc."     Werke,  vol.  vii.,  p.  182.] 

2  It  might  also  have  been  objected  to  me  that  I  have  not  first  defined 
the  notion  of  the  faculty  of  desire,  or  of  the  feeling  of  pleasure,  although 
this  reproach  would  be  unfair,  because  this  definition  might  reasonably 
be  presupposed  as  given  in  psychology.     However,  the  definition  there 
given  might  be  such  as  to  found  the  determination  of  the  faculty  of 
desire  on  the  feeling  of  pleasure  (as  is  commonly  done),  and  thus  the 
supreme  principle   of   practical   philosophy  would  be   necessarily  made 
empirical,  which,  however,  remains  to  be  proved,  and  in  this  critique 
ia   altogether   refuted.     I   will,  therefore,  give   this   definition   here   in 
such  a  manner  as  it  ought  to  be  given,  in  order  to  leave  this  contested 
point   open  at  the  beginning,  as  it  should  be.     LIFE  is   the  faculty  a 
being  has  of  acting  according  to  laws  of   the  faculty  of  desire.      The 
facidty  of  DESIRE  is  the  being's  faculty  of  becoming  by  means  of  its  ideas 
the  cause  of  the  actual  existence  of  the  objects  of  these  ideas.   PLEASURE  is  the 
idea  of  the  agreement  of  the  object  or  the  action  ivith  the  subjective  conditions 


I  have  also  had  regard  to  many  of  the  objections  which  have 
reached  me  from  men  who  show  that  they  have  at  heart  the 
discovery  of  the  truth,  and  I  shall  continue  to  do  so  (for  those 
who  have  only  their  old  system  before  their  eyes,  and  who 
have  already  settled  what  is  to  be  approved  or  disapproved, 
do  not  desire  any  explanation  which  might  stand  in  the  way 
of  their  own  private  opinion). 

When  we  have  to  study  a  particular  faculty  of  the  human 
mind  in  its  sources,  its  content,  and  its  limits ;  then  from  the 
nature  of  human  knowledge  we  must  begin  with  its  parts, 
with  an  accurate  and  complete  exposition  of  them ;  complete, 
namely,  so  far  as  is  possible  in  the  present  state  of  our  know 
ledge  of  its  elements.  But  there  is  another  thing  to  be 
attended  to  which  is  of  a  more  philosophical  and  architectonic 
character,  namely,  to  grasp  correctly  the  idea  of  the  whole, 
and  from  thence  to  get  a  view  of  all  those  parts  as  mutually 
related  by  the  aid  of  pure  reason,  and  by  means  of  their 
derivation  from  the  concept  of  the  whole  (114).  This  is  only 

of  life,  i.e.  with  the  faculty  of  causality  of  an  idea  in  respect  of  the 
actuality  of  its  object  (or  with  the  determination  of  the  forces  of  the  subject 
to  the  action  which  produces  it)  (113).  I  have  no  further  need  for  the 
purposes  of  this  critique  of  notions  borrowed  from  psychology  ;  the 
critique  itself  supplies  the  rest.  It  is  easily  seen  that  the  question, 
whether  the  faculty  of  desire  is  always  based  on  pleasure,  or  whether 
under  certain  conditions  pleasure  only  follows  the  determination  of 
desire,  is  by  this  definition  left  undecided,  for  it  is  composed  only 
of  terms  belonging  to  the  pure  understanding,  i.e.  of  categories  which 
contain  nothing  empirical.  Such  precaution  is  very  desirable  in  all 
philosophy,  and  yet  is  often  neglected  ;  namely,  not  to  prejudge 
questions  by  adventuring  definitions  before  the  notion  has  been 
completely  analysed,  which  is  often  very  late.  It  may  be  observed 
through  the  whole  course  of  the  critical  philosophy  (of  the  theoretical 
as  well  as  the  practical  reason)  that  frequent  opportunity  offers  of 
supplying  defects  in  the  old  dogmatic  method  of  philosophy,  and  of 
correcting  errors  which  are  not  observed  until  we  make  such  rational 
use  of  these  notions  viewing  them  as  a  whole. 


possible  through  the  most  intimate  acquaintance  with  the 
system ;  and  those  who  find  the  first  inquiry  too  troublesome, 
and  do  not  think  it  worth  their  while  to  attain  such  an 
acquaintance,  cannot  reach  the  second  stage,  namely,  the 
general  view,  which  is  a  synthetical  return  to  that  which 
had  previously  been  given  analytically.  It  is  no  wonder 
then  if  they  find  inconsistencies  everywhere,  although  the 
gaps  which  these  indicate  are  not  in  the  system  itself,  but 
in  their  own  incoherent  train  of  thought. 

I  have  no  fear,  as  regards  this  treatise,  of  the  reproach 
that  I  wish  to  introduce  a  new  language,  since  the  sort  of 
knowledge  here  in  question  has  itself  somewhat  of  an  every 
day  character.  Nor  even  in  the  case  of  the  former  critique 
could  this  reproach  occur  to  anyone  who  had  thought  it 
through,  and  not  merely  turned  over  the  leaves.  To  invent 
new  words  where  the  language  has  no  lack  of  expressions 
for  given  notions  is  a  childish  effort  to  distinguish  oneself 
from  the  crowd,  if  not  by  new  and  true  thoughts,  yet  by  new 
patches  on  the  old  garment.  If,  therefore,  the  readers  of 
that  work  know  any  more  familiar  expressions  which  are  as 
suitable  to  the  thought  as  those  seem  to  me  to  be,  or  if  they 
think  they  can  show  the  futility  of  these  thoughts  themselves, 
and  hence  that  of  the  expression,  they  would,  in  the  first 
case,  very  much  oblige  me,  for  I  only  desire  to  be  under 
stood  ;  and,  in  the  second  case,  they  would  deserve  well  of 
philosophy.  But,  as  long  as  these  thoughts  stand,  I  very 
much  doubt  that  suitable,  and  yet  more  common,  expressions 
for  them  can  be  found.1 

1 1  am  more  afraid  in  the  present  treatise  of  occasional  misconception  in 
respect  of  some  expressions  which  1  have  chosen  with  the  greatest  care  (115), 
in  order  that  the  notion  to  which  they  point  may  not  be  missed.  Thus,  in 

[lie]  OF   PRACTICAL   REASON.  97 

(115)  In  this  manner,  then,  the  a  priori  principles  of  two 
faculties  of  the  mind,  the  faculty  of  cognition  and  (ne)  that 
of  desire,  would  be  found  and  determined  as  to  the  conditions, 
extent,  and  limits  of  their  use,  and  thus  a  sure  foundation  be 
laid  for  a  scientific  system  of  philosophy,  both  theoretic  and 

Nothing  worse  could  happen  to  these  labourers  than  that 
anyone  should  make  the  unexpected  discovery  that  there  neither 
is  nor  can  be  any  d  priori  knowledge  at  all.  But  there  is  no 
danger  of  this.  This  would  be  the  same  thing  as  if  one 
sought  to  prove  by  reason  that  there  is  no  reason.  For 


we  only  say  that  we  know  something  by  reason  when  we 
are  conscious  that  we  could  have  known  it  even  if  it  had 
not  been  given  to  us  in  experience  ;  hence  rational  know 
ledge  and  knowledge  d  priori  are  one  and  the  same.  It  is 
a  clear  contradiction  to  try  to  extract  necessity  from  a  prin 
ciple  of  experience  (ex  pumice  aqnam),  and  to  try  by  this  to 
give  a  judgment  true  universality  (without  which  there  is 
no  rational  inference,  not  even  inference  from  analogy,  which 
is  at  least  a  presumed  universality  and  objective  necessity). 
To  substitute  subjective  necessity,  that  is,  custom,  for  objec 
tive,  which  exists^  only  in  d  priori  judgments,  is  to  deny  to 
reason  the  power  of  judging  about  the  object,  i.e.  of  knowing 
it,  and  what  belongs  to  it.  It  implies,  for  example,  that  we 
must  not  say  of  something  which  often  or  always  follows  a 
certain  antecedent  state,  that  we  can  conclude  from  this  to 
that  (for  this  would  imply  objective  necessity  and  the  notion 
of  an  d  priori  connexion),  but  only  that  we  may  expect 

the  table  of  categories  of  the  practical  reason  under  the  title  of  Modality, 
the  permitted  and  forbidden  (in  a  practical  objective  point  of  view,  Possible 
and  Impossible)  have  almost  the  same  meaning  in  common  language  as  the 



similar  cases  (just  as  animals  do),  that  is,  that  we  reject  the 
notion  of  cause  altogether  as  false  and  a  mere  delusion.  <  As 
to  attempting  to  remedy  this  want  of  objective,  and  conse 
quent  universal,  validity  by  saying  that  we  can  see  no 
ground  (117)  for  attributing  any  other  sort  of  knowledge  to 
other  rational  beings,  if  this  reasoning  were  valid,  our  igno 
rance  would  do  more  for  the  enlargement  of  our  knowledge 
than  all  our  meditation.  For,  then,  on  this  very  ground 
that  we  have  no  knowledge  of  any  other  rational  beings 
besides  man,  we  should  have  a  right  to  suppose  them  to  be 
of  the  same  nature  as  we  know  ourselves  to  be  :  that  is,  we 
should  really  know  them.  I  omit  to  mention  that  universal 
assent  does  not  prove  the  objective  validity  of  a  judgment 
(i.e.  its  validity  as  a  cognition),  and  although  this  universal 
assent  should  accidentally  happen,  it  could  furnish  no  proof 
of  agreement  with  the  object  ;  on  the  contrary,  it  is  the 
objective  validity  which  alone  constitutes  the  basis  of  a  neces 
sary  universal  consent. 

next  category,  D-uty  and  Contrary  to  Duty.  Here,  however,  the  former 
means  what  coincides  with,  or  contradicts,  a  merely  possible  practical  pre- 
cept(for  example,  the  solution  of  all  problems  of  geometryand  mechanics) ; 
the  latter,  what  is  similarly  related  to  a  law  actitally  present  in  the  reason  ; 
and  this  distinction  is  not  quite  foreign  even  to  common  language,  although 
somewhat  unusual.  For  example,  it  is  forbidden  to  an  orator,  as  such,  to 
forge  new  words  or  constructions  ;  in  a  certain  degree  this  is  permitted  to  a 
poet  ;  in  neither  case  is  there  any  question  of  duty.  For  if  anyone  chooses 
to  forfeit  his  reputation  as  an  orator,  no  one  can  prevent  him.  We  have 
here  only  to  do  with  the  distinction  of  imperatives  into  problematical ,  asser- 
torial,  and  apodictic.  Similarly  in  the  note  in  which  I  have  compared  the 
moral  ideas  of  practical  perfection  in  different  philosophical  schools,  I  have 
distinguished  the  idea  of  wisdom  from  that  of  holiness,  although  I  have 
stated  that  essentially  and  objectively  they  are  the  same.  But  in  that 
place  I  understand  by  the  former  only  that  wisdom  to  which  man  (the  Stoic) 
lays  claim  ;  therefore  I  take  it  subjectively  as  an  attribute  alleged  to  belong 

[ll?J  OF   PRACTICAL   REASON.  99 

Hume  would  be  quite  satisfied  with  this  system  of  uni 
versal  empiricism,  for,  as  is  well  known,  he  desired  nothing 
more  than  that  instead  of  ascribing  any  objective  meaning 
to  the  necessity  in  the  concept  of  cause,  a  merely  subjective 
one  should  be  assumed,  viz.  custom,  in  order  to  deny  that 
reason  could  judge  about  God,  freedom,  and  immortality ; 
and  if  once  his  principles  were  granted,  he  was  certainly  well 
able  to  deduce  his  conclusions  therefrom,  with  all  logical 
coherence.  But  even  Hume  did  not  make  his  empiricism  so 
universal  as  to  include  mathematics.  He  holds  the  princi 
ples  of  mathematics  to  be  analytical ;  and  if  his  were  correct, 
they  would  certainly  be  apodictic  also  :  but  wre  could  not  infer 
from  this  that  reason  has  the  faculty  of  forming  apodictic 
judgments  in  philosophy  also — that  is  to  say,  those  which  are 
synthetical  judgments,  like  the  judgment  of  causality.  But 
if  we  adopt  a  universal  empiricism,  then  mathematics  will  be 

Now  if  this  science  is  in  contradiction  with  a  reason  that 

to  man.  (Perhaps  the  expression  virtiie,  with  which  also  the  Stoic  made 
great  show,  would  better  mark  the  characteristic  of  his  school.)  The  ex 
pression  of  a  postidate  of  pure  practical  reason  might  give  most  occasion  to 
misapprehension  in  case  the  reader  confounded  it  with  the  signification  of 
the  postulates  in  pure  mathematics,  which  carry  apodictic  certainty  with 
them.  These,  however,  postulate  the  possibility  of  an  action,  the  object  of 
which  has  been  previously  recognized  a  priori  in  theory  as  possible,  and 
that  with  perfect  certainty.  But  the  former  postulates  the  possibility  of  an 
object  itself  (God  and  the  immortality  of  the  soul)  from  apodictic  practical 
laws,  and  therefore  only  for  the  purposes  of  a  practical  reason.  This  cer 
tainty  of  the  postulated  possibility  then  is  not  at  all  theoretic,  and  conse 
quently  not  apodictic,  that  is  to  say,  it  is  not  a  known  necessity  as  regards 
the  object,  but  a  necessary  supposition  as  regards  the  subject,  necessary  for 
the  obedience  to  its  objective  but  practical  laws.  It  is,  therefore,  merely  a 
necessary  hypothesis.  I  could  find  no  better  expression  for  this  rational 
necessity,  which  is  subjective,  but  yet  true  and  unconditional. 

H  2 


admits  only  empirical  principles  (us),  as  it  inevitably  is  in 
the  antinomy  in  which  mathematics  prove  the  infinite  divisi 
bility  of  space,  which  empiricism  cannot  admit ;  then  the 
greatest  possible  evidence  of  demonstration  is  in  manifest 
contradiction  with  the  alleged  conclusions  from  experience, 
and  we  are  driven  to  ask,  like  Cheselden's  blind  patient, 
"  Which  deceives  me,  sight  or  touch  ? "  (for  empiricism  is 
based  on  a  necessity  felt,  rationalism  on  a  necessity  seen). 
And  thus  universal  empiricism  reveals  itself  as  absolutely  scep 
ticism.  It  is  erroneous  to  attribute  this  in  such  an  un 
qualified  sense  to  Hume,1  since  he  left  at  least  one  certain 
touchstone  of  experience,  namely,  mathematics  ;  whereas 
thorough  scepticism  admits  no  such  touchstone  (which  can 
only  be  found  in  a  priori  principles),  although  experience 
consists  not  only  of  feelings,  but  also  of  judgments. 

However,  as  in  this  philosophical  and  critical  age  such 
empiricism  can  scarcely  be  serious,  and  it  is  probably  put 
forward  only  as  an  intellectual  exercise,  and  for  the  purpose 
of  putting  in  a  clearer  light,  by  contrast,  the  necessity  of 
rational  a  priori  principles,  we  can  only  be  grateful  to  those 
who  employ  themselves  in  this  otherwise  uninstructive  labour. 

1  Names  that  designate  the  followers  of  a  sect  have  always  been  accom 
panied  with  much  injustice  ;  just  as  if  one  said,  N  is  an  Idealist.  For 
although  he  not  only  admits,  but  even  insists,  that  our  ideas  of  external 
things  have  actual  objects  of  external  things  corresponding  to  them,  yet 
he  holds  that  the  form  of  the  intuition  does  not  depend  on  them  but  on 
the  human  mind.  [N  is  clearly  Kant  himself.] 




theoretical  use  of  reason  was  concerned  with  objects  of 
_|_  the  cognitive  faculty  only,  and  a  critical  examination  of 
it  with  reference  to  this  use  applied  properly  only  to  the  pure 
faculty  of  cognition  ;  because  this  raised  the  suspicion,  which 
was  afterwards  confirmed,  that  it  might  easily  pass  beyond  its 
limits,  and  be  lost  among  unattainable  objects,  or  even  contra 
dictory  notions.  It  is  quite  different  with  the  practical  use  of 
reason.  In  this,  reason  is  concerned  with  the  grounds  of  deter 
mination  of  the  will,  which  is  a  faculty  either  to  produce  objects 
corresponding  to  ideas,  or  to  determine  ourselves  to  the  effecting 
of  such  objects  (whether  the  physical  power  is  sufficient  or  not)  ; 
that  is,  to  determine  our  causality.  For  here,  reason  can  at 
least  attain  so  far  as  to  determine  the  will,  and  has  always 
objective  reality  in  so  far  as  it  is  the  volition  only  that  is  in 
question.  The  first  question  here,  then,  is.  whether  pure  reason 
of  itself  alone  suffices  to  determine  the  will,  or  whether  it  can 
be  a  ground  of  determination  only  as  dependent  on  empirical 
conditions  (120).  Now,  here  there  comes  in  a  notion  of  caus 
ality  justified  by  the  critique  of  the  pure  reason,  although  not 
capable  of  being  presented  empirically,  viz.  that  of  freedom  ; 
and  if  we  can  now  discover  means  of  proving  that  this  property 
does  in  fact  belong  to  the  human  will  (and  so  to  the  will  of  all 
rational  beings),  then  it  will  not  only  be  shown  that  pure  reason 
can  be  practical,  but  that  it  alone,  and  not  reason  empirically 
limited,  is  indubitably  practical  ;  consequently,  we  shall  have 
to  make  a  critical  examination,  not  of  pure  practical  reason,  but 

102  INTRODUCTION.  [l2l] 

only  of  practical  reason  generally.  For  when  once  pure  reason 
is  shown  to  exist,  it  needs  no  critical  examination.  For  reason 
itself  contains  the  standard  for  the  critical  examination  of  every 
use  of  it.  The  critique,  then,  of  practical  reason  generally  is 
bound  to  prevent  the  empirically  conditioned  reason  from  claim 
ing  exclusively  to  furnish  the  ground  of  determination  of  the 
will.  If  it  is  proved  that  there  is  a  [practical]1  reason,  its  em 
ployment  is  alone  immanent ;  the  empirically  conditioned  use, 
which  claims  supremacy,  is  on  the  contrary  transcendent,  and 
expresses  itself  in  demands  and  precepts  which  go  quite  beyond 
its  sphere.  This  is  just  the  opposite  of  what  might  be  said  of 
pure  reason  in  its  speculative  employment. 

However,  as  it  is  still  pure  reason,  the  knowledge  of  which 
is  here  the  foundation  of  its  practical  employment,  the  general 
outline  of  the  classification  of  a  critique  of  practical  reason  must 
be  arranged  in  accordance  with  that  of  the  speculative.  We 
must,  then, have  the  Element*  and  the  Methodology  of  it;  and  in 
the  former  an  Analytic  as  the  rule  of  truth,  and  a  Dialectic  as 
the  exposition  and  dissolution  of  the  illusion  in  the  judgments 
of  practical  reason  (121).  But  the  order  in  the  subdivision  of 
the  Analytic  will  be  the  reverse  of  that  in  the  critique  of  the 
pure  speculative  reason.  For,  in  the  present  case,  we  shall  com 
mence  with  the  principles  and  proceed  to  the  concepts,  and  only 
then,  if  possible,  to  the  senses ;  whereas  in  the  case  of  the  specu 
lative  reason  we  began  with  the  senses,  and  had  to  end  with  the 
principles.  The  reason  of  this  lies  again  in  this  :  that  now  we 
have  to  do  with  a  will,  and  have  to  consider  reason,  not  in  its 
relation  to  objects,  but  to  this  will  and  its  causality.  We  must, 
then,  begin  with  the  principles  of  a  causality  not  empirically 
conditioned,  after  which  the  attempt  can  be  made  to  establish 
our  notions  of  the  determining  grounds  of  such  a  will,  of  their 
application  to  objects,  and  finally  to  the  subject  and  its  sense 
faculty.  We  necessarily  begin  with  the  law  of  causality  from 
freedom,  that  is,  with  a  pure  practical  principle,  and  this  deter 
mines  the  objects  to  which  alone  it  can  be  applied. 

1  [The  original  has  "  pure,"  an  obvious  error.] 




BOOK   I. 





PRACTICAL  PRINCIPLES  are  propositions  which  contain 
a  general  determination  of  the  will,  having  under  it  several 
practical  rules.  They  are  subjective,  or  Maxims,  when  the 
condition  is  regarded  by  the  subject  as  valid  only  for  his 
own  will,  but  are  objective,  or  practical  laws,  when  the  con 
dition  is  recognized  as  objective,  that  is,  valid  for  the  will 
of  every  rational  being. 


Supposing  that  pure  reason  contains  in  itself  a  practical 
motive  (126),  that  is,  one  adequate  to  determine  the  will,  then 
there  are  practical  laws  ;  otherwise  all  practical  principles 
will  be  mere  maxims.  In  case  the  will  of  a  rational  being 
is  pathologically  affected,  there  may  occur  a  conflict  of  the 
maxims  with  the  practical  laws  recognized  by  itself.  For 
example,  one  may  make  it  his  maxim  to  let  no  injury  pass 
unrevenged,  and  yet  he  may  see  that  this  is  not  a  practical 
law,  but  only  his  own  maxim ;  that,  on  the  contrary,  regarded 
as  being  in  one  and  the  same  maxim  a  rule  for  the  will  of 
every  rational  being,  it  must  contradict  itself.  In  natural 
philosophy  the  principles  of  what  happens  (e.g.  the  principle 

106  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l2?] 

of  equality  of  action  and  reaction  in  the  communication  of 
motion)  are  at  the  same  time  laws  of  nature ;  for  the  use 
of  reason  ihere  is  theoretical,  and  determined  by  the  nature 
of  the  object.  In  practical  philosophy,  i.e.  that  which  has  to 
do  only  with  the  grounds  of  determination  of  the  will,  the 
principles  which  a  man  makes  for  himself  are  not  laws  by 
which  one  is  inevitably  bound ;  because  reason  in  practical 
matters  has  to  do  with  the  subject,  namely,  with  the  faculty 
of  desire,  the  special  character  of  which  may  occasion  variety 
in  the  rule.  The  practical  rule  is  always  a  product  of  reason, 
because  it  prescribes  action  as  a  means  to  the  effect.  But  in 
the  case  of  a  being  with  whom  reason  does  not  of  itself 
determine  the  will,  this  rule  is  an  imperative,  i.e.  a  rule 
characterized  by  "  shall,"  which,  expresses  the  objective  necessi- 
tation  of  the  action,  and  signifies  that  if  reason  completely 
determined  the  will,  the  action  would  inevitably  take  place 
according  to  this  rule.  Imperatives,  therefore,  are  objectively 
valid,  and  are  quite  distinct  from  maxims,  which  are  subjective 
principles.  The  former  either  determine  the  conditions  of 
the  causality  of  the  rational  being  as  an  efficient  cause,  i.e. 
merely  in  reference  to  the  effect  and  the  means  of  attaining 
it ;  or  they  determine  the  will  only,  whether  it  is  adequate 
to  the  effect  or  not  (127).  The  former  would  be  hypothetical 
imperatives,  and  contain  mere  precepts  of  skill ;  the  latter, 
on  the  contrary,  would  be  categorical,  and  would  alone  be 
practical  laws.  Thus  maxims  are  principles,  but  not  impera 
tives.  Imperatives  themselves,  however,  when  they  are  con 
ditional  (i.e.  do  not  determine  the  will  simply  as  will,  but  only 
in  respect  to  a  desired  effect,  that  is,  when  they  are  hypothetical 
imperatives),  are  practical  precepts,  but  not  laws.  Laws  must 
be  sufficient  to  determine  the  will  as  will,  even  before  I  ask 
whether  I  have  power  sufficient  for  a  desired  effect,  or  the 
means  necessary  to  produce  it ;  hence  they  are  categorical  : 
otherwise  they  are  not  laws  at  all,  because  the  necessity  is 
wanting,  which,  if  it  is  to  be  practical,  must  be  independent 
<>n  conditions  which  are  pathological,  and  are  therefore  only 
contingently  connected  with  the  will.  Tell  a  man,  for  example; 

[128]  PUKE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  107 

that  he  must  be  industrious  and  thrifty  in  youth,  in  order 
that  he  may  not  want  in  old  age ;  this  is  a  correct  and 
important  practical  precept  of  the  will.  But  it  is  easy  to 
see  that  in  this  case  the  will  is  directed  to  something  else 
which  it  is  presupposed  that  it  desires,  and  as  to  this 
desire,  we  must  leave  it  to  the  actor  himself  whether  he 
looks  forward  to  other  resources  than  those  of  his  own  acqui 
sition,  or  does  not  expect  to  be  old,  or  thinks  that  in  case 
of  future  necessity  he  will  be  able  to  make  shift  with  little. 
Eeason,  from  which  alone  can  spring  a  rule  involving  necessity, 
does,  indeed,  give  necessity  to  this  precept  (else  it  would 
not  be  an  imperative),  but  this  is  a  necessity  dependent  on 
subjective  conditions,  and  cannot  be  supposed  in  the  same 
degree  in  all  subjects.  But  that  reason  may  give  laws  it  is 
necessary  that  it  should  only  need  to  presuppose  itself,  because 
rules  are  objectively  and  universally  valid  only  when  they 
hold  without  any  contingent  subjective  conditions,  which  dis 
tinguish  one  rational  being  from  another.  Now  tell  a  man 
that  he  should  never  make  a  deceitful  promise,  this  is  a  rule 
which  only  concerns  his  will,  whether  the  purposes  he  may 
have  can  be  attained  thereby  or  not  (123) ;  it  is  the  volition 
only  which  is  to  be  determined  a  priori  by  that  rule.  If  now 
it  is  found  that  this  rule  is  practically  right,  then  it  is  a  law, 
because  it  is  a  categorical  imperative.  Thus,  practical  laws 
refer  to  the  will  only,  without  considering  what  is  attained 
by  its  causality,  and  we  may  disregard  this  latter  (as  belong 
ing  to  the  world  of  sense)  in  order  to  have  them  quite  pure. 

§  II. — THEOREM  I. 

All  practical  principles  which  presuppose  an  object  (matter) 
of  the  faculty  of  desire  as  the  ground  of  determination  of  the 
will  are  empirical,  and  can  furnish  no  practical  laws. 

By  the  matter  of  the  faculty  of  desire  I  mean  an  object 
the  realization  of  which  is  desired.  Now,  if  the  desire  for  this 
object  precedes  the  practical  rule,  and  is  the  condition  of  our 
making  it  a  principle,  then  I  say  (in  the  first  place)  this  principle 

108  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l2<>] 

is  in  that  case  wholly  empirical,  for  then  what  determines  the 
choice  is  the  idea  of  an  object,  and  that  relation  of  this  idea  to 
the  subject  by  which  its  faculty  of  desire  is  determined  to  its 
realization.  Such  a  relation  to  the  subject  is  called  the  pleasure 
in  the  realization  of  an  object.  This,  then,  must  be  presupposed 
as  a  condition  of  the  possibility  of  determination  of  the  will. 
But  it  is  impossible  to  know  d  priori  of  any  idea  of  an  object 
whether  it  will  be  connected  with  pleasure  or  pain,  or  be  indif 
ferent.  In  such  cases,  therefore,  the  determining  principle  of 
the  choice  must  be  empirical,  and,  therefore,  also  the  practical 
material  principle  which  presupposes  it  as  a  condition. 

(129)  In  the  second  place,  since  susceptibility  to  a  pleasure  or 
pain  can  be  known  only  empirically,  and  cannot  hold  in  the 
same  degree  for  all  rational  beings,  a  principle  which  is  based 
on  this  subjective  condition  may  serve  indeed  as  a  maxim  for  the 
subject  which  possesses  this  susceptibility,  but  not  as  a  law 
even  to  him  (because  it  is  wanting  in  objective  necessity,  which 
must  be  recognized  d  priori) ;  it  follows,  therefore,  that  such  a 
principle  can  never  furnish  a  practical  law. 


All  material  practical  principles  as  such  are  of  one  and  the 
same  kind,  and  come  under  the  general  principle  of  self-love  or 
private  happiness. 

Pleasure  arising  from  the  idea  of  the  existence  of  a  thing, 
in  so  far  as  it  is  to  determine  the  desire  of  this  thing,  is  founded 
on  the  susceptibility  of  the  subject,  since  it  depends  on  the  pre 
sence  of  an  object;  hence  it  belongs  to  sense  (feeling),  and  not 
to  understanding,  which  expresses  a  relation  of  the  idea  to  an 
object  according  to  concepts,  not  to  the  subject  according  to 
feelings.  It  is,  then,  practical  only  in  so  far  as  the  faculty  of 
desire  is  determined  by  the  sensation  of  agreeableness  which 
the  subject  expects  from  the  actual  existence  of  the  object. 
Now,  a  rational  being's  consciousness  of  the  pleasantness  of 
life  uninterruptedly  accompanying  his  whole  existence  is  hap 
piness  ;  and  the  principle  which  makes  this  the  supreme  ground 

[l3l]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  109 

of  determination  of  the  will  is  the  principle  of  self-love.  All 
material  principles,  then,  which  place  the  determining  ground 
of  the  will  in  the  pleasure  or  pain  to  be  received  from  the 
existence  of  any  object  are  all  of  the  same  kind(i3o),  inas 
much  as  they  all  belong  to  the  principle  of  self-love  or  private 


All  material  practical  rules  place  the  determining  principle 
of  the  will  in  the  lower  desires,  and  if  there  were  no  purely  formal 
laws  of  the  will  adequate  to  determine  it,  then  we  could  not 
admit  any  higher  desire  at  all. 


It  is  surprising  that  men,  otherwise  acute,  can  think  it  pos 
sible  to  distinguish  between  higher  and  lower  desires,  according 
as  the  ideas  which  are  connected  with  the  feeling  of  pleasure 
have  their  origin  in  the  senses  or  in  the  understanding',  for 
when  we  inquire  what  are  the  determining  grounds  of  desire, 
and  place  them  in  some  expected  pleasantness,  it  is  of  no  con 
sequence  whence  the  idea  of  this  pleasing  object  is  derived,  but 
only  how  much  it  2^cases.  Whether  an  idea  has  its  seat  and 
source  in  the  understanding  or  not,  if  it  can  only  determine 
the  choice  by  presupposing  a  feeling  of  pleasure  in  the  subject, 
it  follows  that  its  capability  of  determining  the  choice  depends 
altogether  on  the  nature  of  the  inner  sense,  namely,  that  this 
can  be  agreeably  affected  by  it.  However  dissimilar  ideas  of 
objects  may  be,  though  they  be  ideas  of  the  understanding,  or 
even  of  the  reason  in  contrast  to  ideas  of  sense,  yet  the  feeling 
of  pleasure,  by  means  of  which  they  constitute  the  determining 
principle  of  the  will  (the  expected  satisfaction  which  impels  the 
activity  to  the  production  of  the  object)  (i3i),  is  of  one  and  the 
same  kind,  not  only  inasmuch  as  it  can  only  be  known  empiri 
cally,  but  also  inasmuch  as  it  affects  one  and  the  same  vital 
force  which  manifests  itself  in  the  faculty  of  desire,  and  in  this 
respect  can  only  differ  in  degree  from  every  other  ground  of 
determination.  Otherwise,  how  could  we  compare  in  respect  of 

110  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [132] 

magnitude  two  principles  of  determination,  the  ideas  of  which 
depend  upon  different  faculties,  so  as  to  prefer  that  which  affects 
the  faculty  of  desire  in  the  highest  degree.  The  same  man  may 
return  unread  an  instructive  book  which  he  cannot  again  obtain, 
in  order  not  to  miss  a  hunt ;  he  may  depart  in  the  midst  of  a 
fine  speech,  in  order  not  to  be  late  for  dinner ;  he  may  leave  a 
rational  conversation,  such  as  he  otherwise  values  highly,  to 
take  his  place  at  the  gaming-table;  he  may  even  repulse  a 
poor  man  whom  he  at  other  times  takes  pleasure  in  benefiting, 
because  he  has  only  just  enough  money  in  his  pocket  to  pay  for 
his  admission  to  the  theatre.  If  the  determination  of  his  will 
rests  on  the  feeling  of  the  agreeableness  or  disagreeableness  that 
he  expects  from  any  cause,  it  is  all  the  same  to  him  by  what 
sort  of  ideas  he  will  be  affected.  The  only  thing  that  concerns 
him,  in  order  to  decide  his  choice,  is.  how  great,  how  long  con 
tinued,  how  easily  obtained,  and  how  often  repeated,  this  agree 
ableness  is.  Just  as  to  the  man  who  wants  money  to  spend,  it 
is  all  the  same  whether  the  gold  was  dug  out  of  the  mountain 
or  washed  out  of  the  sand,  provided  it  is  everywhere  accepted 
at  the  same  value  ;  so  the  man  who  cares  only  for  the  enjoy 
ment  of  life  does  not  ask  whether  the  ideas  are  of  the  under 
standing  or  the  senses,  but  only  how  much  and  how  great  pleasure 
they  will  give  for  the  longest  time.  It  is  only  those  that  would 
gladly  deny  to  pure  reason  the  power  of  determining  the  will, 
without  the  presupposition  of  any  feeling,  who  could  deviate  so 
far  from  their  own  exposition  as  to  describe  as  quite  hetero 
geneous  what  they  have  themselves  previously  brought  under 
one  and  the  same  principle  (132).  Thus,  for  example,  it  is  ob 
served  that  we  can  find  pleasure  in  the  mere  exercise  of  power, 
in  the  consciousness  of  our  strength  of  mind  in  overcoming 
obstacles  which  are  opposed  to  our  designs,  in  the  culture  of 
our  mental  talents,  etc. ;  and  we  justly  call  these  more  refined 
pleasures  and  enjoyments,  because  they  are  more  in  our  power 
than  others ;  they  do  not  wear  out,  but  rather  increase  the 
capacity  for  further  enjoyment  of  them,  and  while  they  delight 
they  at  the  same  time  cultivate.  But  to  say  on  this  account 
that  they  determine  the  will  in  a  different  way,  and  not  through 


sense,  whereas  the  possibility  of  the  pleasure  presupposes  a  feel 
ing  for  it  implanted  in  us,  which  is  the  first  condition  of  this 
satisfaction  ;  this  is  just  as  when  ignorant  persons  that  like  to 
dabble  in  metaphysics  imagine  matter  so  subtle,  so  super-subtle, 
that  they  almost  make  themselves  giddy  with  it,  and  then  think 
that  in  this  way  they  have  conceived  it  as  a  spiritual  and  yet 
extended  being.  If  with  Epicurus  we  make  virtue  determine 
the  will  only  by  means  of  the  pleasure  it  promises,  we  cannot 
afterwards  blame  him  for  holding  that  this  pleasure  is  of  the 
same  kind  as  those  of  the  coarsest  senses.  For  we  have  no 
reason  whatever  to  charge  him  with  holding  that  the  ideas  by 
which  this  feeling  is  excited  in  us  belong  merely  to  the  bodily 
senses.  As  far  as  can  be  conjectured,  he  sought  the  source  of 
many  of  them  in  the  use  of  the  higher  cognitive  faculty ;  but 
this  did  not  prevent  him,  and  could  not  prevent  him,  from 
holding  on  the  principle  above  stated,  that  the  pleasure  itself 
which  those  intellectual  ideas  give  us,  and  by  which  alone 
they  can  determine  the  will,  is  just  of  the  same  kind.  Con 
sistency  is  the  highest  obligation  of  a  philosopher,  and  yet  the 
most  rarely  found.  The  ancient  Greek  schools  give  us  more 
examples  of  it  than  we  find  in  our  syncrctistic  age,  in  which 
a  certain  shallow  and  dishonest  system  of  compromise  of  con 
tradictory  principles  is  devised,  because  it  commends  itself 
better  to  a  public  (133)  which  is  content  to  know  something  of 
everything  and  nothing  thoroughly,  so  as  to  please  every  party.1 
The  principle  of  private  happiness,  however  much  under 
standing  and  reason  may  be  used  in  it,  cannot  contain  any 
other  determining  principles  for  the  will  than  those  which 
belong  to  the  lower  desires  ;  and  either  there  are  no  [higher]- 
desires  at  all,  or  pure  reason  must  of  itself  alone  be  practical : 
that  is,  it  must  be  able  to  determine  the  will  by  the  mere  form 
of  the  practical  rule  without  supposing  any  feeling,  and  conse 
quently  without  any  idea  of  the  pleasant  or  unpleasant,  which 

[^Literally,  "to  have  a  firm  seat  in  any  saddle."     It  maybe  noted 
that  Kant's  father  was  a  saddler.] 
[2  Not  in  the  original  text.] 

112  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l34] 

is  the  matter  of  the  desire,  and  which  is  always  an  empirical 
condition  of  the  principles.  Then  only,  when  reason  of  itself 
determines  the  will  (not  as  the  servant  of  the  inclination),  it  is 
really  a  higher  desire  to  which  that  which  is  pathologically 
determined  is  subordinate,  and  is  really,  and  even  specifically, 
distinct  from  the  latter,  so  that  even  the  slightest  admixture  of 
the  motives  of  the  latter  impairs  its  strength  and  superiority ; 
just  as  in  a  mathematical  demonstration  the  least  empirical  con 
dition  would  degrade  and  destroy  its  force  and  value.  Reason, 
with  its  practical  law,  determines  the  will  immediately,  not  by 
means  of  an  intervening  feeling  of  pleasure  or  pain,  not  even  of 
pleasure  in  the  law  itself,  and  it  is  only  because  it  can,  as  pure 
reason,  be  practical,  that  it  is  possible  for  it  to  be  legislative. 


To  be  happy  is  necessarily  the  wish  of  every  finite  rational 
being,  and  this,  therefore,  is  inevitably  a  determining  principle 
of  its  faculty  of  desire.  For  we  are  not  in  possession  originally 
of  satisfaction  with  our  whole  existence — a  bliss  which  would 
imply  a  consciousness  of  our  own  independent  self-sufficiency — 
this  is  a  problem  imposed  upon  us  by  our  own  finite  nature, 
because  we  have  wants,  and  these  wants  regard  (134)  the  matter 
of  our  desires,  that  is,  something  that  is  relative  to  a  subjective 
feeling  of  pleasure  or  pain,  which  determines  what  we  need  in 
order  to  be  satisfied  with  our  condition.  But  just  because  this 
material  principle  of  determination  can  only  be  empirically 
known  by  the  subject,  it  is  impossible  to  regard  this  problem 
as  a  law  ;  for  a  law  being  objective  must  contain  the  very  same 
principle  of  determination  of  the  will  in  all  cases  and  for  all 
rational  beings.  For,  although  the  notion  of  happiness  is  in 
every  case  the  foundation  of  the  practical  relation  of  the  objects 
to  the  desires,  yet  it  is  only  a  general  name  for  the  subjective 
determining  principles,  and  determines  nothing  specifically  ; 
whereas  this  is  what  alone  we  are  concerned  with  in  this  prac 
tical  problem,  which  cannot  be  solved  at  all  without  such  specific 
determination.  For  it  is  every  man's  own  special  feeling  of 

[135]  PUKE   PKACTICAL   REASON.  113 

pleasure  and  pain  that  decides  in  what  he  is  to  place  his 
happiness,  and  even  in  the  same  subject  this  will  vary  with 
the  difference  of  his  wants  according  as  this  feeling  changes, 
and  thus  a  law  which  is  subjectively  necessary  (as  a  law  of 
nature)  is  objectively  a  very  contingent  practical  principle,  which 
can  and  must  be  very  different  in  different  subjects,  and  there 
fore  can  never  furnish  a  law ;  since,  in  the  desire  for  happiness 
it  is  not  the  form  (of  conformity  to  law)  that  is  decisive,  but 
simply  the  matter,  namely,  whether  I  am  to  expect  pleasure  in 
following  the  law,  and  how  much.  Principles  of  self-love  may, 
indeed,  contain  universal  precepts  of  skill  (how  to  find  means 
to  accomplish  one's  purposes),  but  in  that  case  they  are  merely 
theoretical  principles  ;*  as,  for  example,  how  he  who  would  like 
to  eat  bread  (135)  should  contrive  a  mill ;  but  practical  precepts 
founded  on  them  can  never  be  universal,  for  the  determining 
principle  of  the  desire  is  based  on  the  feeling  of  pleasure  and 
pain,  which  can  never  be  supposed  to  be  universally  directed  to 
the  same  objects. 

Even  supposing,  however,  that  all  finite  rational  beings  were 
thoroughly  agreed  as  to  what  were  the  objects  of  their  feelings 
of  pleasure  and  pain,  and  also  as  to  the  means  which  they 
must  employ  to  attain  the  one  and  avoid  the  other  ;  still,  they 
could  by  no  means  set  up  the  principle  of  self -love  as  a  practical 
law,  for  this  unanimity  itself  would  be  only  contingent.  The 
principle  of  determination  would  still  be  only  subjectively  valid 
and  merely  empirical,  and  would  not  possess  the  necessity 
which  is  conceived  in  every  law,  namely,  an  objective  necessity 
arising  from  a  priori  grounds ;  unless,  indeed,  we  hold  this 
necessity  to  be  not  at  all  practical,  but  merely  physical,  viz. 
that  our  action  is  as  inevitably  determined  by  our  inclination, 
as  yawning  when  we  see  others  yawn.  It  would  be  better 

1  Propositions  which  in  mathematics  or  physics  are  called  practical 
ought  properly  to  be  called  technical.  For  they  have  nothing  to  do  with 
the  determination  of  the  will  ;  they  only  point  out  how  a  certain  effect  is 
to  be  produced,  and  are  therefore  just  as  theoretical  as  any  propositions 
which  express  the  connexion  of  a  cause  with  an  effect.  Now  whoever 
chooses  the  effect  must  also  choose  the  cause. 


114  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l3«] 

to  maintain  that  there  are  no  practical  laws  at  all,  but  only 
counsels  for  the  service  of  our  desires,  than  to  raise  merely 
subjective  principles  to  the  rank  of  practical  laws,  which  have 
objective  necessity,  and  not  merely  subjective,  and  which  must 
be  known  by  reason  d  priori,  not  by  experience  (however 
empirically  universal  this  may  be).  Even  the  rules  of  corre 
sponding  phenomena  are  only  called  laws  of  nature  (e.g.  the 
mechanical  laws),  when  we  either  know  them  really  d  priori, 
or  (as  in  the  case  of  chemical  laws)  suppose  that  they  would 
be  known  a  priori  from  objective  grounds  if  our  insight  reached 
further.  But  in  the  case  of  merely  subjective  practical  prin 
ciples,  it  is  expressly  made  a  condition  (ise)  that  they  rest 
not  on  objective  but  on  subjective  conditions  of  choice,  and 
hence  that  they  must  always  be  represented  as  mere  maxims  ; 
never  as  practical  laws.  This  second  remark  seems  at  first  sight 
to  be  mere  verbal  refinement,  but  it  defines1  the  terms  of  the 
most  important  distinction  which  can  come  into  consideration  in 
practical  investigations. 


A  rational  being  cannot  regard  his  maxims  as  practical 
universal  laws,  unless  he  conceives  them  as  principles  which 
determine  the  will,  not  by  their  matter,  but  by  their  form 

By  the  matter  of  a  practical  principle  I  mean  the  object  of 
the  will.  This  object  is  either  the  determining  ground  of  the 
will  or  it  is  not.  In  the  former  case  the  rule  of  the  will  is  sub 
jected  to  an  empirical  condition  (viz.  the  relation  of  the  deter 
mining  idea  to  the  feeling  of  pleasure  and  pain) ;  consequently 
it  cannot  be  a  practical  law.  Now,  when  we  abstract  from  a 
law  all  matter,  i.e.  every  object  of  the  will  (as  a  determining 
principle),  nothing  is  left  but  the  mere  form  of  a  universal 
legislation.  Therefore,  either  a  rational  being  cannot  conceive 
his  subjective  practical  principles,  that  is,  his  maxims,  as  being 

[The  original  sentence  is  defective  ;  Hartenstein  supplies  "  enthalt."] 

[138]  PUKE   PRACTICAL  EEASON.  115 

at  the  same  time  universal  laws,  or  he  must  suppose  that  their 
mere  form,  by  which  they  are  fitted  for  universal  legislation,  is 
alone  what  makes  them  practical  laws. 

(l37)    REMARK. 

The  commonest  understanding  can  distinguish  without  in 
struction  what  form  of  maxim  is  adapted  for  universal  legisla 
tion,  and  what  is  not.  Suppose,  for  example,  that  I  have  made 
it  my  maxim  to  increase  my  fortune  by  every  safe  means.  Now, 
I  have  a  deposit  in  my  hands,  the  owner  of  which  is  dead  and 
has  left  no  writing  about  it.  This  is  just  the  case  for  my 
maxim.  I  desire,  then,  to  know  whether  that  maxim  can  also 
hold  good  as  a  universal  practical  law.  I  apply  it,  therefore, 
to  the  present  case,  and  ask  whether  it  could  take  the  form  of  a 
law,  and  consequently  whether  I  can  by  my  maxim  at  the  same 
time  give  such  a  law  as  this,  that  everyone  may  deny  a  deposit 
of  which  no  one  can  produce  a  proof.  I  at  once  become  aware 
that  such  a  principle,  viewed  as  a  law,  would  annihilate  itself, 
because  the  result  would  be  that  there  would  be  no  deposits.  A 
practical  law  which  I  recognize  as  such  must  be  qualified  for 
universal  legislation ;  this  is  an  identical  proposition,  and  there 
fore  self-evident.  Now,  if  I  say  that  my  will  is  subject  to 
a  practical  law,  I  cannot  adduce  my  inclination  (e.g.  in  the 
present  case  my  avarice)  as  a  principle  of  determination  fitted 
to  be  a  universal  practical  law ;  for  this  is  so  far  from  being 
fitted  for  a  universal  legislation  that,  if  put  in  the  form  of  a 
universal  law,  it  would  destroy  itself. 

It  is,  therefore,  surprising  that  intelligent  men  could  have 
thought  of  calling  the  desire  of  happiness  a  universal  practical 
law  on  the  ground  that  the  desire  is  universal,  and,  therefore, 
also  the  maxim  by  which  everyone  makes  this  desire  determine 
his  will.  For  whereas  in  other  cases  a  universal  law  of  nature 
makes  everything  harmonious ;  here,  on  the  contrary,  if  we 
attribute  to  the  maxim  the  universality  of  a  law,  the  extreme 
opposite  of  harmony  will  follow,  the  greatest  opposition,  and 
the  complete  (iss)  destruction  of  the  maxim  itself,  and  its 


116  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [139] 

purpose.  For,  in  that  case,  the  will  of  all  has  not  one  and  the 
same  object,  but  everyone  has  his  own  (his  private  welfare), 
which  may  accidentally  accord  with  the  purposes  of  others 
which  are  equally  selfish,  but  it  is  far  from  sufficing  for  a  law  ; 
because  the  occasional  exceptions  which  one  is  permitted  to 
make  are  endless,  and  cannot  be  definitely  embraced  in  one 
universal  rule.  In  this  manner,  then,  results  a  harmony  like 
that  which  a  certain  satirical  poem  depicts  as  existing  between 
a  married  couple  bent  on  going  to  ruin,  "  O.  marvellous  har 
mony,  what  he  wishes,  she  wishes  also  " ;  or  like  what  is  said 
of  the  pledge  of  Francis  I  to  the  Emperor  Charles  V,  "  What 
my  brother  Charles  wishes  that  I  wish  also "  (viz.  Milan). 
Empirical  principles  of  determination  are  not  fit  for  any  uni 
versal  external  legislation,  but  just  as  little  for  internal ;  for 
each  man  makes  his  own  subject  the  foundation  of  his  inclina 
tion,  and  in  the  same  subject  sometimes  one  inclination,  some 
times  another,  has  the  preponderance.  To  discover  a  law  which 
would  govern  them  all  under  this  condition,  namely,  bringing 
rhem  all  into  harmony,  is  quite  impossible. 


Supposing  that  the  mere  legislative  form  of  maxims  is  alone 
the  sufficient  determining  principle  of  a  will,  to  find  the  nature 
of  the  will  which  can  be  determined  by  it  alone. 

Since  the  bare  form  of  the  law  can  only  be  conceived  by 
reason,  and  is,  therefore,  not  an  object  of  the  senses,  and  conse 
quently  does  not  belong  to  the  class  of  phenomena,  it  follows 
that  the  idea  of  it  (139),  which  determines  the  will,  is  distinct 
from  all  the  principles  that  determine  events  in  nature  accord 
ing  to  the  law  of  causality,  because  in  their  case  the  determining 
principles  must  themselves  be  phenomena.  Now,  if  no  other 
determining  principle  can  serve  as  a  law  for  the  will  except 
that  universal  legislative  form,  such  a  will  must  be  conceived 
as  quite  independent  on  the  natural  law  of  phenomena  in  their 
mutual  felation,  namely,  the  law  of  causality ;  such  indepen 
dence  is  called  freedom  in  the  strictest,  that  is  in  the  transcen- 

[140]  PURE   PRACTICAL    REASON.  117 

dental  sense ;  consequently,  a  will  which  can  have  its  law  in 
nothing  but  the  mere  legislative  form  of  the  maxim  is  a  free 

§  VI. — PROBLEM  II. 

Supposing  that  a  will  is  free,  to  find  the  law  which  alone 
is  competent  to  determine  it  necessarily. 

Since  the  matter  of  the  practical  law,  i.e.  an  object  of  the 
maxim,  can  never  be  given  otherwise  than  empirically,  and 
the  free  will  is  independent  on  empirical  conditions  (that  is, 
conditions  belonging  to  the  world  of  sense),  and  yet  is  deter- 
minable,  consequently  a  free  will  must  find  its  principle  of 
determination  in  the  law,  and  yet  independently  of  the  matter 
of  the  law.  But,  beside  the  matter  of  the  law,  nothing  is 
contained  in  it  except  the  legislative  form.  It  is  the  legislative 
form,  then,  contained  in  the  maxim,  which  can  alone  constitute 
a  principle  of  determination  of  the  [free]  will. 

(140)   REMARKS. 

Thus  freedom  and  an  unconditional  practical  law  recip 
rocally  imply  each  other.  Now  I  do  not  ask  here  whether 
they  are  in  fact  distinct,  or  whether  an  unconditional  law  ie. 
not  rather  merely  the  consciousness  of  a  pure  practical  reason, 
and  the  latter  identical  with  the  positive  concept  of  freedom  ; 
I  only  ask,  whence  begins  our  knowledge  of  the  unconditionally 
practical,  whether  it  is  from  freedom  or  from  the  practical  law  ? 
Now  it  cannot  begin  from  freedom,  for  of  this  we  cannot  be 
immediately  conscious,  since  the  first  concept  of  it  is  negative  ; 
nor  can  we  infer  it  from  experience,  for  experience  gives  us 
the  knowledge  only  of  the  law  of  phenomena,  and  hence  of 
the  mechanism  of  nature,  the  direct  opposite  of  freedom.  It  is 
therefore  the  moral  law,  of  which  we  become  directly  conscious 
(as  soon  as  we  trace  for  ourselves  maxims  of  the  will),  that 
first  presents  itself  to  us,  and  leads  directly  to  the  concept 
of  freedom,  inasmuch  as  reason  presents  it  as  a  principle  of 

118  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [l4l] 

determination  not  to  be  outweighed  by  any  sensible  conditions, 
nay,  wholly  independent  of  them.  But  how  is  the  consciousness 
of  that  moral  law  possible  ?  We  can  become  conscious  of  pure 
practical  laws  just  as  we  are  conscious  of  pure  theoretical 
principles,  by  attending  to  the  necessity  with  which  reason 
prescribes  them,  and  to  the  elimination  of  all  empirical  con 
ditions,  which  it  directs.  The  concept  of  a  pure  will  arises  out 
of  the  former,  as  that  of  a  pure  understanding  arises  out  of 
the  latter.  That  this  is  the  true  subordination  of  our  concepts, 
and  that  it  is  morality  that  first  discovers  to  us  the  notion  of 
freedom,  hence  that  it  is  practical  reason  which,  with  this 
concept,  first  proposes  to  speculative  reason  the  most  insoluble 
problem,  thereby  placing  it  in  the  greatest  perplexity,  is  evident 
from  the  following  consideration  : — Since  nothing  in  phenomena 
can  be  explained  by  the  concept  of  freedom,  but  the  mechanism 
of  nature  must  constitute  the  only  clue  (141) ;  moreover,  when 
pure  reason  tries  to  ascend  in  the  series  of  causes  to  the 
unconditioned,  it  falls  into  an  antinomy  which  is  entangled  in 
incomprehensibilities  on  the  one  side  as  much  as  the  other ; 
whilst  the  latter  (namely,  mechanism)  is  at  least  useful  in  the 
explanation  of  phenomena,  therefore  no  one  would  ever  have 
been  so  rash  as  to  introduce  freedom  into  science,  had  not  the 
moral  law,  and  with  it  practical  reason,  come  in  and  forced 
this  notion  upon  us.  Experience,  however,  confirms  this  order 
of  notions.  Suppose  some  one  asserts  of  his  lustful  appetite 
that,  when  the  desired  object  and  the  opportunity  are  present, 
it  is  quite  irresistible.  [Ask  him]— if  a  gallows  were  erected 
before  the  house  where  he  finds  this  opportunity,  in  order  that 
he  should  be  hanged  thereon  immediately  after  the  gratification 
of  his  lust,  whether  he  could  not  then  control  his  passion ; 
we  need  not  be  long  in  doubt  what  he  would  reply.  Ask  him, 
however — if  his  sovereign  ordered  him,  on  pain  of  the  same 
immediate  execution,  to  bear  false  witness  against  an  honourable 
man,  whom  the  prince  might  wish  to  destroy  under  a  plausible 
pretext,  would  he  consider  it  possible  in  that  case  to  overcome 
his  love  of  life,  however  great  it  may  be.  He  would  perhaps 
not  venture  to  afh'rm  whether  he  would  do  so  or  not,  but  he 

[142]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  119 

must  unhesitatingly  admit  that  it  is  possible  to  do  so.  He 
judges,  therefore,  that  he  can  do  a  certain  thing  because  he  is 
conscious  that  he  ought,  and  he  recognizes  that  he  is  free — a  fact 
which  but  for  the  moral  law  he  would  never  have  known. 


Act  so  that  the  maxim  of  thy  will  can  always  at  the  same 
time  hold  good  as  a  principle  of  universal  legislation. 

(142)   REMARK. 

Pure  geometry  has  postulates  which  are  practical  propo 
sitions,  but  contain  nothing  further  than  the  assumption  that 
we  can  do  something  if  it  is  required  that  we  should  do  it,  and 
these  are  the  only  geometrical  propositions  that  concern  actual 
existence.  They  are,  then,  practical  rules  under  a  problematical 
condition  of  the  will ;  but  here  the  rule  says : — We  absolutely 
must  proceed  in  a  certain  manner.  The  practical  rule  is, 
therefore,  unconditional,  and  hence  it  is  conceived  a  priori  as 
a  categorically  practical  proposition  by  which  the  will  is 
objectively  determined  absolutely  and  immediately  (by  the 
practical  rule  itself,  which  thus  is  in  this  case  a  law) ;  for  pure 
reason  practical  of  itself  is  here  directly  legislative.  The  will  is 
•'thought  as  independent  on  empirical  conditions,  and,  therefore, 
as  pure  will  determined  by  the  mere  form  of  the  law,  and  this 
principle  of  determination  is  regarded  as  the  supreme  condition 
of  all  maxims.  The  thing  is  strange  enough,  and  has  no 
parallel  in  all  the  rest  of  our  practical  knowledge.  For  the 
a  priori  thought  of  a  possible  universal  legislation  which  is 
therefore  merely  problematical,  is  unconditionally  commanded 
as  a  law  without  borrowing  anything  from  experience  or  from 
any  external  will.  This,  however,  is  not  a  precept  to  do  some 
thing  by  which  some  desired  effect  can  be  attained  (for  then 
the  will  would  depend  on  physical  conditions),  but  a  rule  that 
determines  the  will  a  priori  only  so  far  as  regards  the  forms 
of  its  maxims ;  and  thus  it  is  at  least  not  impossible  to 

120  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l43] 

conceive  that  a  law,  which  only  applies  to  the  subjective  form  of 
principles,  yet  serves  as  a  principle  of  determination  by  means 
of  the  objective  form  of  law  in  general.  We  may  call  the  con 
sciousness  of  this  fundamental,  law  a  fact  of  reason,  because  we 
cannot  reason  it  out  from  antecedent  data  of  reason,  e.g.  the 
consciousness  of  freedom  (for  this  is  not  antecedently  given), 
but  it  forces  itself  on  us  as  a  synthetic  a  priori  proposition  (143), 
which  is  not  based  on  any  intuition,  either  pure  or  empirical. 
It  would,  indeed,  be  analytical  if  the  freedom  of  the  will  were 
presupposed,  but  to  presuppose  freedom  as  a  positive  concept 
would  require  an  intellectual  intuition,  which  cannot  here  be 
assumed ;  however,  when  we  regard  this  law  as  given,  it  must 
be  observed,  in  order  not  to  fall  into  any  misconception,  that  it 
is  not  an  empirical  fact,  but  the  sole  fact  of  the  pure  reason, 
which  thereby  announces  itself  as  originally  legislative  (sic  volo 
sic  juleo). 


Pure  reason  is  practical  of  itself  alone,  and  gives  (to  man) 
a  universal  law  which  we  call  the  Moral  Law. 


The  fact  just  mentioned  is  undeniable.  It  is  only  neces 
sary  to  analyse  the  judgment  that  men  pass  on  the  lawfulness 
of  their  actions,  in  order  to  find  that,  whatever  inclination  may 
say  to  the  contrary,  reason,  incorruptible  and  self-constrained, 
always  confronts  the  maxim  of  the  will  in  any  action  with 
the  pure  will,  that  is,  with  itself,  considering  itself  as  d  priori 
practical.  Now  this  principle  of  morality,  just  on  account  of 
the  universality  of  the  legislation  which  makes  it  the  formal 
supreme  determining  principle  of  the  will,  without  regard  to 
any  subjective  differences,  is  declared  by  the  reason  to  be  a 
law  for  all  rational  beings,  in  so  far  as  they  have  a  will,  that 
is,  a  power  to  determine  their  causality  by  the  conception  of 
rules ;  and,  therefore,  so  far  as  they  are  capable  of  acting 
according  to  principles,  and  consequently  also  according  to 

[144]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  121 

practical  d  priori  principles  (for  these  alone  have  the  necessity 
that  reason  requires  in  a  principle).  It  is,  therefore,  not  limited 
to  men  only,  but  applies  to  all  finite  beings  that  possess  reason 
and  will  (144) ;  nay,  it  even  includes  the  Infinite  Being  as  the 
supreme  intelligence.  In  the  former  case,  however,  the  law 
has  the  form  of  an  imperative,  because  in  them,  as  rational 
beings,  we  can  suppose  a  pure  will,  but  being  creatures  affected 
with  wants  and  physical  motives,  not  a  holy  will,  that  is,  one 
which  would  be  incapable  of  any  maxim  conflicting  with  the 
moral  law.  In  their  case,  therefore,  the  moral  law  is  an 
imperative,  which  commands  categorically,  because  the  law  is 
unconditioned ;  the  relation  of  such  a  will  to  this  law  is  de 
pendence  under  the  name  of  obligation,  which  implies  a  constraint 
to  an  action,  though  only  by  reason  and  its  objective  law ;  and 
this  action  is  called  duty,  because  an  elective  will,  subject  to 
pathological  affections  (though  not  determined  by  them,  and 
therefore  still  free),  implies  a  wish  that  arises  from  subjective 
causes,  and  therefore  may  often  be  opposed  to  the  pure  objective 
determining  principle ;  whence  it  requires  the  moral  constraint 
of  a  resistance  of  the  practical  reason,  which  may  be  called  an 
internal,  but  intellectual,  compulsion.  In  the  supreme  intelli 
gence  the  elective  will  is  rightly  conceived  as  incapable  of  any 
maxim  which  could  not  at  the  same  time  be  objectively  a  law ; 
and  the  notion  of  holiness,  which  on  that  account  belongs  to  it, 
places  it,  not  indeed  above  all  practical  laws,  but  above  all 
practically  restrictive  laws,  and  consequently  above  obligation 
and  duty.  This  holiness  of  will  is,  however,  a  practical  idea, 
which  must  necessarily  serve  as  a  type  to  which  finite  rational 
beings  can  only  approximate  indefinitely,  and  which  the  pure 
moral  law,  which  is  itself  on  this  account  called  holy,  constantly 
and  rightly  holds  before  their  eyes.  The  utmost  that  finite 
practical  reason  can  effect  is  to  be  certain  of  this  indefinite 
progress  of  one's  maxims,  and  of  their  steady  disposition  to 
advance.  This  is  virtue,  and  virtue,  at  least  as  a  naturally 
acquired  faculty,  can  never  be  perfect,  because  assurance  in 
such  a  case  never  becomes  apodictic  certainty,  and  when  it 
only  amounts  to  persuasion  is  very  dangerous. 

122  THE  ANALYTIC   OF  [l46] 

(us)  §  VIII— THEOREM  IV. 

,  The  autonomy  of  the  will  is  the  sole  principle  of  all  moral 
laws,  and  of  all  duties  which  conform  to  them ;  on  the  other 
hand,  lieteronomy  of  the  elective  will  not  only  cannot  be  the 
basis  of  any  obligation,  but  is,  on  the  contrary,  opposed  to  the 
principle  thereof,  and  to  the  morality  of  the  will. 

In  fact  the  sole  principle  of  morality  consists  in  the  inde 
pendence  on  all  matter  of  the  law  (namely,  a  desired  object), 
and  in  the  determination  of  the  elective  will  by  the  mere  uni 
versal  legislative  form  of  which  its  maxim  must  be  capable. 
Now  this  independence  is  freedom  in  the  negative  sense,  and  this 
self-legislation  of  the  pure,  and  therefore  practical,  reason  is 
freedom  in  the  positive  sense.  •  Thus  the  moral  law  expresses 
nothing  else  than  the  autonomy  of  the  pure  practical  reason ; 
that  is,  freedom ;  and  this  is  itself  the  formal  condition  of  all 
maxims,  and  on  this  condition  only  can  they  agree  with  the 
supreme  practical  law.  If  therefore  the  matter  of  the  volition, 
which  can  be  nothing  else  than  the  object  of  a  desire  that  is 
connected  with  the  law,  enters  into  the  practical  law,  as  the 
condition  of  its  possibility ,  there  results  heteronomy  of  the  elective 
will,  namely,  dependence  on  the  physical  law  that  we  should 
follow  some  impulse  or  inclination.  In  that  case  the  will  does 
not  give  itself  the  law,  but  only  the  precept  how  rationally  to 
follow  pathological  law ;  and  the  maxim  which,  in  such  a  case, 
never  contains  the  universally  legislative  form,  not  only  produces 
no  obligation,  but  is  itself  opposed  to  the  principle  of  a  pure 
practical  reason,  and,  therefore,  also  to  the  moral  disposition, 
even  though  the  resulting  action  may  be  conformable  to  the 

(146)   REMARK   I. 

Hence  a  practical  precept,  which  contains  a  material  (and 
therefore  empirical)  condition,  must  never  be  reckoned  a  prac 
tical  law.  For  the  law  of  the  pure  will,  which  is  free,  brings 
the  will  into  a  sphere  quite  different  from  the  empirical ;  and 
as  the  necessity  involved  in  the  law  is  not  a  physical  necessity, 

[147]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  123 

it  can  only  consist  in  the  formal  conditions  of  the  possibility 
of  a  law  in  general.  All  the  matter  of  practical  rules  rests  on 
subjective  conditions,  which  give  them  only  a  conditional  uni 
versality  (in  case  I  desire  this  or  that,  what  I  must  do  in  order 
to  obtain  it),  and  they  all  turn  on  the  principle  of  private 
happiness.  Now,  it  is  indeed  undeniable  that  every  volition 
must  have  an  object,  and  therefore  a  matter ;  but  it  does  not 
follow  that  this  is  the  determining  principle,  and  the  condition 
of  the  maxim ;  for,  if  it  is  so,  then  this  cannot  be  exhibited  in  a 
universally  legislative  form,  since  in  that  case  the  expectation  of 
the  existence  of  the  object  would  be  the  determining  cause  of 
the  choice,  and  the  volition  must  presuppose  the  dependence  of 
the  faculty  of  desire  on  the  existence  of  something ;  but  this 
dependence  can  only  be  sought  in  empirical  conditions,  and  there 
fore  can  never  furnish  a  foundation  for  a  necessary  and  universal 
rule,.  Thus,  the  happiness  of  others  may  be  the  object  of  the  will 
of  a  rational  being.  But  if  it  were  the  determining  principle 
of  the  maxim,  we  must  assume  that  we  find  not  only  a  rational 
satisfaction  in  the  welfare  of  others,  but  also  a  want  such  as 
the  sympathetic  disposition  in  some  men  occasions.  But  I 
cannot  assume  the  existence  of  this  want  in  every  rational 
being  (not  at  all  in  God).  The  matter,  then,  of  the  maxim  may 
remain,  but  it  must  not  be  the  condition  of  it,  else  the  maxim 
could  not  be  fit  for  a  law.  Hence,  the  mere  form  of  law,  which 
limits  the  matter,  must  also  be  a  reason  (u?)  for  adding  this 
matter  to  the  will,  not  for  presupposing  it.  For  example,  let 
the  matter  be  my  own  happiness.  This  (rule),  if  I  attribute  it 
to  everyone  (as,  in  fact,  I  may,  in  the  case  of  every  finite  being], 
can  become  an  objective  practical  law  only  if  1  include  the 
happiness  of  others.  Therefore,  the  law  that  we  should  promote 
the  happiness  of  others  does  not  arise  from  the  assumption  that 
this  is  an  object  of  everyone's  choice,  but  merely  from  this,  that 
the  form  of  universality  which  reason  requires  as  the  condition 
of  giving  to  a  maxim  of  self-love  the  objective  validity  of  a  law, 
is  the  principle  that  determines  the  will.  Therefore  it  was  not 
the  object  (the  happiness  of  others)  that  determined  the  pure 
will,  but  it  was  the  form  of  law  only,  by  which  I  restricted  my 

124  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [l48] 

maxim,  founded  on  inclination,  so  as  to  give  it  the  universality 
of  a  law,  and  thus  to  adapt  it  to  the  practical  reason  ;  and  it  is 
this  restriction  alone,  and  not  the  addition  of  an  external  spring, 
that  can  give  rise  to  the  notion  of  the  obligation  to  extend  the 
maxim  of  my  self-love  to  the  happiness  of  others. 


The  direct  opposite  of  the  principle. of  morality  is,  when  the 
principle  of  private  happiness  is  made  the  determining  principle 
of  the  will,  and  with  this  is  to  be  reckoned,  as  I  have  shown 
above,  everything  that  places  the  determining  principle  which 
is  to  serve  as  a  law  anywhere  but  in  the  legislative  form  of  the 
maxim.  This  contradiction,  however,  is  not  merely  logical,  like 
that  which  would  arise  between  rules  empirically  conditioned, 
if  they  were  raised  to  the  rank  of  necessary  principles  of  cog 
nition,  but  is  practical,  and  would  ruin  morality  altogether  were 
not  the  voice  of  reason  in  reference  to  the  will  so  clear,  so 
irrepressible,  so  distinctly  audible  even  to  the  commonest  men. 
It  can  only,  indeed,  be  maintained  in  the  perplexing  (us)  specu 
lations  of  the  schools,  which  are  bold  enough  to  shut  their  ears 
against  that  heavenly  voice,  in  order  to  support  a  theory  that 
costs  no  trouble. 

Suppose  that  an  acquaintance  whom  you  otherwise  liked 
were  to  attempt  to  justify  himself  to  you  for  having  borne  false 
witness,  first  by  alleging  the,  in  his  view,  sacred  duty  of  con 
sulting  his  own  happiness ;  then  by  enumerating  the  advantages 
which  he  had  gained  thereby,  pointing  out  the  prudence  he 
had  shown  in  securing  himself  against  detection,  even  by  your 
self,  to  whom  he  now  reveals  the  secret  only  in  order  that 
he  may  be  able  to  deny  it  at  any  time ;  and  suppose  he  were 
then  to  affirm,  in  all  seriousness,  that  he  has  fulfilled  a  true 
human  duty;  you  would  either  laugh  in  his  face,  or  shrink 
back  from  him  with  disgust ;  and  yet,  if  a  man  has  regulated 
his  principles  of  action  solely  with  a  view  to  his  own  advan 
tage,  you  would  have  nothing  whatever  to  object  against  this 
mode  of  proceeding.  Or  suppose  some  one  recommends  you  a 

[149]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  125 

man  as  steward,  as  a  man  to  whom  you  can  blindly  trust  all 
your  affairs ;  and,  in  order  to  inspire  you  with  confidence, 
extols  him  as  a  prudent  man  who  thoroughly  understands  his 
own  interest,  and  is  so  indefatigably  active  that  he  lets  slip 
no  opportunity  of  advancing  it ;  lastly,  lest  you  should  be  afraid 
of  finding  a  vulgar  selfishness  in  him,  praises  the  good  taste 
with  which  he  lives  :  not  seeking  his  pleasure  in  money-making, 
or  in  coarse  wantonness,  but  in  the  enlargement  of  his  know 
ledge,  in  instructive  intercourse  with  a  select  circle,  and  even  in 
relieving  the  needy ;  while  as  to  the  means  (which,  of  course, 
derive  all  their  value  from  the  end)  he  is  not  particular,  and  is 
ready  to  use  other  people's  money  for  the  purpose,  as  if  it  were 
his  own,  provided  only  he  knows  that  he  can  do  so  safely  and 
without  discovery;  you  would  either  believe  that  the  recom- 
mender  was  mocking  you,  or  that  he  had  lost  his  senses.  So 
sharply  and  clearly  marked  are  the  boundaries  of  morality  and 
self-love  that  even  the  commonest  eye  (149)  cannot  fail  to  dis 
tinguish  whether  a  thing  belongs  to  the  one  or  the  other.  The 
few  remarks  that  follow  may  appear  superfluous  where  the  truth 
is  so  plain,  but  at  least  they  may  serve  to  give  a  little  more 
distinctness  to  the  judgment  of  common  sense. 

The  principle  of  happiness  may,  indeed,  furnish  maxims, 
but  never  such  as  would  be  competent  to  be  laws  of  the  will, 
even  if  universal  happiness  were  made  the  object.  For  since 
the  knowledge  of  this  rests  on  mere  empirical  data,  since  every 
man's  judgment  on  it  depends  very  much  on  his  particular 
point  of  view,  which  is  itself  moreover  very  variable,  it  can 
supply  only  general  rules,  not  universal ;  that  is,  it  can  give 
rules  which  on  the  average  will  most  frequently  fit,  but  not 
rules  which  must  hold  good  always  and  necessarily  ;  hence,  no 
practical  laws  can  be  founded  on  it.  Just  because  in  this  case 
an  object  of  choice  is  the  foundation  of  the  rule,  and  must 
therefore  precede  it ;  the  rule  can  refer  to  nothing  but  what  is 
[felt]1,  and  therefore  it  refers  to  experience  and  is  founded  on 
it,  and  then  the  variety  of  judgment  must  be  endless.  This 

1  [Reading  "ernpfindet"  instead  of  "empfiehlt."] 

126  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [l50] 

principle,  therefore,  does  not  prescribe  the  same  practical  rules 
to  all  rational  beings,  although  the  rules  are  all  included  under 
a  common  title,  namely,  that  of  happiness.  The  moral  law, 
however,  is  conceived  as  objectively  necessary,  only  because  it 
holds  for  everyone  that  has  reason  and  will. 

The  maxim  of  self-love  (prudence)  only  advises ;  the  law  of 
morality  commands.  Now  there  is  a  great  difference  between 
that  which  we  are  advised  to  do  and  that  to  which  we  are 

The  commonest  intelligence  can  easily  and  without  hesita 
tion  see  what,  on  the  principle  of  autonomy  of  the  will,  requires 
to  be  done ;  but  on  supposition  of  heteronomy  of  the  will,  it  is 
hard  and  requires  knowledge  of  the  world  to  see  what  is  to  be 
done.  That  is  to  say,  what  duty  is,  is  plain  of  itself  to  every 
one  ;  but  what  is  to  bring  true  durable  advantage,  such  as  will 
extend  to  the  whole  of  one's  existence  (150),  is  always  veiled 
in  impenetrable  obscurity ;  and  much  prudence  is  required  to 
adapt  the  practical  rule  founded  on  it  to  the  ends  of  life,  even 
tolerably,  by  making  proper  exceptions.  But  the  moral  law 
commands  the  most  punctual  obedience  from  everyone;  it 
must,  therefore,  not  be  so  difficult  to  judge  what  it  requires  to 
be  done,  that  the  commonest  unpractised  understanding,  even 
without  worldly  prudence,  should  fail  to  apply  it  rightly. 

It  is  always  in  everyone's  power  to  satisfy  the  categorical 
command  of  morality ;  whereas  it  is  but  seldom  possible,  and 
by  no  means  so  to  everyone,  to  satisfy  the  empirically  con 
ditioned  precept  of  happiness,  even  with  regard  to  a  single 
purpose.  The  reason  is,  that  in  the  former  case  there  is  ques 
tion  only  of  the  maxim,  which  must  be  genuine  and  pure ;  but 
in  the  latter  case  there  is  question  also  of  one's  capacity  and 
physical  power  to  realize  a  desired  object.  A  command  that 
everyone  should  try  to  make  himself  happy  would  be  foolish, 
for  one  never  commands  anyone  to  do  what  he  of  himself 
infallibly  wishes  to  do.  We  must  only  command  the  means,  or 
rather  supply  them,  since  he  cannot  do  everything  that  he 
wishes.  But  to  command  morality  under  the  name  of  duty  is 
quite  rational ;  for,  in  the  first  place,  not  everyone  is  willing 

[l5l]  PUKE   PllACTICAL  REASON.  127 

to  obey  its  precepts  if  they  oppose  his  inclinations ;  and  as  to 
the  means  of  obeying  this  law,  these  need  not  in  this  case  be 
taught,  for  in  this  respect  whatever  he  wishes  to  do  he  can  do. 

He  who  has  lost  at  play  may  be  vexed  at  himself  and  his 
folly ;  but  if  he  is  conscious  of  having  cheated  at  play  (although 
he  has  gained  thereby),  he  must  despise  himself  as  soon  as  he 
compares  himself  with  the  moral  law.  This  must,  therefore,  be 
something  different  from  the  principle  of  private  happiness. 
For  a  man  must  have  a  different  criterion  when  he  is  com 
pelled  to  say  to  himself :  I  am  a  worthless  fellow,  though  I 
have  filled  my  purse;  and  when  he  approves  himself  (151),  and 
says :  I  am  a  prudent  man,  for  I  have  enriched  my  treasure. 

Finally,  there  is  something  further  in  the  idea  of  our  prac 
tical  reason,  which  accompanies  the  transgression  of  a  moral 
law — namely,  its  ill  desert.  Now  the  notion  of  punishment, 
as  such,  cannot  be  united  with  that  of  becoming  a  partaker 
of  happiness ;  for  although  he  who  inflicts  the  punishment  may 
at  the  same  time  have  the  benevolent  purpose  of  directing  this 
punishment  to  this  end,  yet  it  must  first  be  justified  in  itself  as 
punishment,  i.e.  as  mere  harm,  so  that  if  it  stopped  there,  and 
the  person  punished  could  get  no  glimpse  of  kindness  hidden 
behind  this  harshness,  he  must  yet  admit  that  justice  was  done 
him,  and  that  his  reward  was  perfectly  suitable  to  his  conduct. 
In  every  punishment,  as  such,  there  must  first  be  justice,  and 
this  constitutes  the  essence  of  the  notion.  Benevolence  may, 
indeed,  be  united  with  it,  but  the  man  who  has  deserved  punish 
ment,  has  not  the  least  reason  to  reckon  upon  this.  Punish 
ment,  then,  is  a  physical  evil,  which,  though  it  be  not  connected 
with  moral  evil  as  a  natural  consequence,  ought  to  be  connected 
with  it  as  a  consequence  by  the  principles  of  a  moral  legislation. 
Now,  if  every  crime,  even  without  regarding  the  physical  con 
sequence  with  respect  to  the  actor,  is  in  itself  punishable,  that 
is,  forfeits  happiness  (at  least  partially),  it  is  obviously  absurd 
to  say  that  the  crime  consisted  just  in  this,  that  he  has  drawn 
punishment  on  himself,  thereby  injuring  his  private  happiness 
(which,  on  the  principle  of  self-love,  must  be  the  proper  notion 
of  all  crime).  According  to  this  view  the  punishment  would 

128  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l52] 

be  the  reason  for  calling  anything  a  crime,  and  justice  would, 
on  the  contrary,  consist  in  omitting  all  punishment,  and  even 
preventing  that  which  naturally  follows  ;  for,  if  this  were  done, 
there  would  no  longer  be  any  evil  in  the  action,  since  the  harm 
which  otherwise  followed  it,  and  on  account  of  which  alone  the 
action  was  called  evil,  would  now  be  prevented.  To  look,  how 
ever,  on  all  rewards  and  punishments  as  merely  the  machinery 
in  the  hand  (152)  of  a  higher  power,  which  is  to  serve  only  to  set 
rational  creatures  striving  after  their  final  end  (happiness),  this 
is  to  reduce  the  will  to  a  mechanism  destructive  of  freedom ; 
this  is  so  evident  that  it  need  not  detain  us. 

More  refined,  though  equally  false,  is  the  theory  of  those 
who  suppose  a  certain  special  moral  sense,  which  sense  and  not 
reason  determines  the  moral  law,  and  in  consequence  of  which 
the  consciousness  of  virtue  is  supposed  to  be  directly  connected 
with  contentment  and  pleasure ;  that  of  vice,  with  mental  dis 
satisfaction  and  pain ;  thus  reducing  the  whole  to  the  desire  of 
private  happiness.  Without  repeating  what  has  been  said 
above,  I  will  here  only  remark  the  fallacy  they  fall  into.  In 
order  to  imagine  the  vicious  man  as  tormented  with  mental 
dissatisfaction  by  the  consciousness  of  his  transgressions,  they 
must  first  represent  him  as  in  the  main  basis  of  his  character, 
at  least  in  some  degree,  morally  good ;  just  as  he  who  is  pleased 
with  the  consciousness  of  right  conduct  must  be  conceived  as 
already  virtuous.  The  notion  of  morality  and  duty  must, 
therefore,  have  preceded  any  regard  to  this  satisfaction,  and 
cannot  be  derived  from  it.  A  man  must  first  appreciate  the 
importance  of  what  we  call  duty,  the  authority  of  the  moral 
law,  and  the  immediate  dignity  which  the  following  of  it  gives 
to  the  person  in  his  own  eyes,  in  order  to  feel  that  satisfaction 
in  the  consciousness  of  his  conformity  to  it,  and  the  bitter 
remorse  that  accompanies  the  consciousness  of  its  transgression. 
It  is,  therefore,  impossible  to  feel  this  satisfaction  or  dissatisfac 
tion  prior  to  the  knowledge  of  obligation,  or  to  make  it  the 
basis  of  the  latter.  A  man  must  be  at  least  half  honest  in 
order  even  to  be  able  to  form  a  conception  of  these  feelings.  I 
do  not  deny  that  as  the  human  will  is,  by  virtue  of  liberty, 




capable  of  being  immediately  determined  by  the  moral  law, 
so  frequent  practice  in  accordance  with  this  principle  of 
determination  can,  at  last,  produce  subjectively  a  feeling  of 
satisfaction  (153)  ;  on  the  contrary,  it  is  a  duty  to  establish  and 
to  cultivate  this,  which  alone  deserves  to  be  called  properly  the 
moral  feeling  ;  but  the  notion  of  duty  cannot  be  derived  from 
it,  else  we  should  have  to  suppose  a  feeling  for  the  law  as  such, 
and  thus  make  that  an  object  of  sensation  which  can  only  be 
thought  by  the  reason  ;  and  this,  if  it  is  not  to  be  a  flat  contra 
diction,  would  destroy  all  notion  of  duty,  and  put  in  its  place 
a  mere  mechanical  play  of  refined  inclinations  sometimes  con 
tending  with  the  coarser. 

If  now  we  compare  our  formal  supreme  principle  of  pure 
practical  reason  (that  of  autonomy  of  the  will)  with  all  previous 
material  principles  of  morality,  we  can  exhibit  them  all  in  a 
table  in  which  all  possible  cases  are  exhausted,  except  the  one 
formal  principle  ;  and  thus  we  can  show  visibly  that  it  is  vain 
to  look  for  any  other  principle  than  that  now  proposed.  In 
fact  all  possible  principles  of  determination  of  the  will  are  either 
merely  subjective,  and  therefore  empirical,  or  are  also  objective 
and  rational  ;  and  both  are  either  external  or  internal. 

(154)  Practical  Material  Principles  of  Determination  taken  as 
the  Foundation  of  Morality,  are  :  — 










Physical  feeling. 


Will  of  God. 



(Wolf  and  the 

(Crusius  and  other 

The  civil  Consti 

Moral  feeling. 


theological  Mo 





(155)  Those  at  the  left  hand  are  all  empirical,  and  evidently 
incapable  of  furnishing  the  universal  principle  of  morality  ;  but 
those  on  the  right  hand  are  based  on  reason  (for  perfection  as  a 
quality  of  things,  and  the  highest  perfection  conceived  as  sub 
stance,  that  is,  God,  can  only  be  thought  by  means  of  rational 
concepts).  But  the  former  notion,  namely,  that  of  perfection, 


130  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [l56J 

may  either  be  taken  in  a  theoretic  signification,  and  then  it 
means  nothing  but  the  completeness  of  each  thing  in  its  own 
kind  (transcendental),  or  that  of  a  thing,  merely  as  a  thing 
(metaphysical) ;  and  with  that  we  are  not  concerned  here.  But 
the  notion  of  perfection  in  a  practical  sense  is  the  fitness  or 
sufficiency  of  a  thing  for  all  sorts  of  purposes.  This  perfection, 
as  a  quality  of  man,  and  consequently  internal,  is  nothing  but 
talent,  and,  what  strengthens  or  completes  this,  skill.  Supreme 
perfection  conceived  as  substance,  that  is,  God,  and  consequently 
external  (considered  practically),  is  the  sufficiency  of  this  being, 
for  all  ends.  Ends  then  must  first  be  given,  relatively  to  which 
only  can  the  notion  of  perfection  (whether  internal  in  ourselves 
or  external  in  God)  be  the  determining  principle  of  the  will. 
But  an  end — being  an  object  which  must  precede  the  determina 
tion  of  the  will  by  a  practical  rule,  and  contain  the  ground  of 
the  possibility  of  this  determination,  and  therefore  contain  also 
the  matter  of  the  will,  taken  as  its  determining  principle — such 
an  end  is  always  empirical,  and,  therefore,  may  serve  for  the 
Epicurean  principle  of  the  happiness  theory,  but  not  for  the 
pure  rational  principle  of  morality  and  duty.  Thus,  talents 
and  the  improvement  of  them,  because  they  contribute  to  the 
advantages  of  life ;  or  the  will  of  God,  if  agreement  with  it  be 
taken  as  the  object  of  the  will,  without  any  antecedent  inde 
pendent  practical  principle,  can  be  motives  only  by  reason  of 
the  happiness  expected  therefrom.  Hence  it  follows,  first,  that 
all  the  principles  here  stated  are  material ;  secondly,  that  they 
include  all  possible  material  principles  (ise) ;  and,  finally,  the 
conclusion,  that  since  material  principles  are  quite  incapable  of 
furnishing  the  supreme  moral  law  (as  has  been  shown),  the 
formal  practical  principle  of  the  pure  reason  (according  to  which 
the  mere  form  of  a  universal  legislation  must  constitute  the 
supreme  and  immediate  determining  principle  of  the  will)  is 
the  only  one  possible  which  is  adequate  to  furnish  categorical 
imperatives  ;  that  is,  practical  laws  (which  make  actions  a  duty) ; 
and  in  general  to  serve  as  the  principle  of  morality,  both  in 
criticizing  conduct  and  also  in  its  application  to  the  human  will 
to  determine  it. 

[157]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  131 

I. — Of  the  Deduction  of  the  Fundamental  Principles  of  the  Pure 
Practical  Reason. 

This  Analytic  shows  that  pure  reason  can  be  practical,  that 
is,  can  of  itself  determine  the  will  independently  of  anything 
empirical ;  and  this  it  proves  by  a  fact  in  which  pure  reason  in 
us  proves  itself  actually  practical,  namely,  the  autonomy  shown 
in  the  fundamental  principle  of  morality,  by  which  reason 
determines  the  will  to  action. 

It  shows  at  the  same  time  that  this  fact  is  inseparably 
connected  with  the  consciousness  of  freedom  of  the  will  ;  nay, 
is  identical  with  it ;  and  by  this  the  will  of  a  rational  being, 
although  as  belonging  to  the  world  of  sense  it  recognizes  itself 
as  necessarily  subject  to  the  laws  of  causality  like  other  efficient 
causes ;  yet,  at  the  same  time,  on  another  side,  namely,  as  a 
being  in  itself,  is  conscious  of  existing  in  and  being  determined 
by  an  intelligible  order  of  things ;  conscious  not  (157)  by  virtue 
of  a  special  intuition  of  itself,  but  by  virtue  of  certain  dyna 
mical  laws  which  determine  its  causality  in  the  sensible  world  ; 
for  it  has  been  elsewhere  proved  that  if  freedom  is  predicated 
of  us,  it  transports  us  into  an  intelligible  order  of  things. 

Now,  if  we  compare  with  this  the  analytical  part  of  the 
critique  of  pure  speculative  reason,  we  shall  see  a  remarkable 
contrast.  There  it  was  not  fundamental  principles,  but  pure, 
sensible  intuition  (space  and  time),  that  was  the  first  datum  that 
made  a  priori  knowledge  possible,  though  only  of  objects  of  the 
senses.  Synthetical  principles  could  not  be  derived  from  mere 
concepts  without  intuition ;  on  the  contrary,  they  could  only 
exist  with  reference  to  this  intuition,  and  therefore  to  objects 
of  possible  experience,  since  it  is  the  concepts  of  the  under 
standing,  united  with  this  intuition,  which  alone  make  that 
knowledge  possible  which  we  call  experience.  Beyond  objects 
of  experience,  and  therefore  with  regard  to  things  as  noumena, 
all  positive  knowledge  was  rightly  disclaimed  for  speculative 
reason.  This  reason,  however,  went  so  far  as  to  establish  with 
certainty  the  concept  of  noumena  ;  that  is,  the  possibility,  nay, 


132  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  f]58] 

the  necessity,  of  thinking  them  ;  for  example,  it  showed  against 
all  objections  that  the  supposition  of  freedom,  negatively  con 
sidered,  was  quite  consistent  with  those  principles  and  limi 
tations  of  pure  theoretic  reason.  But  it  could  not  give  us 
any  definite  enlargement  of  our  knowledge  with  respect  to 
such  objects,  but,  on  the  contrary,  cut  off'  all  view  of  them 

On  the  other  hand,  the  moral  law,  although  it  gives  no 
view,  yet  gives  us  a  fact  absolutely  inexplicable  from  any  data 
of  the  sensible  world,  and  the  whole  compass  of  our  theoretical 
use  of  reason,  a  fact  which  points  to  a  pure  world  of  the  under 
standing  (i58),  nay,  even  defines  it  positively,  and  enables  us  to 
know  something  of  it,  namely,  a  law. 

This  law  (as  far  as  rational  beings  are  concerned)  gives  to 
the  world  of  sense,  which  is  a  sensible  system  of  nature,  the 
form  of  a  world  of  the  understanding,  that  is,  of  a  supersen 
sible  system  of  nature,  without  interfering  with  its  mechanism. 
Now,  a  system  of  nature,  in  the  most  general  sense,  is  the 
existence  of  things  under  laws.  The  sensible  nature  of  rational 
beings  in  general  is  their  existence  under  laws  empirically  con 
ditioned,  which,  from  the  point  of  view  of  reason,  is  hetcronomy. 
The  supersensible  nature  of  the  same  beings,  on  the  other  hand, 
is  their  existence  according  to  laws  which  are  independent  on 
every  empirical  condition,  and  therefore  belong  to  the  autonomy 
of  pure  reason.  And,  since  the  laws  by  which  the  existence  of 
things  depends  on  cognition  are  practical,  supersensible  nature, 
so  far  as  we  can  form  any  notion  of  it,  is  nothing  else  than  a 
system  of  nature  under  the  autonomy  of  pure  practical  rcmon. 
Now,  the  law  of  this  autonomy  is  the  moral  law,  which,  there 
fore,  is  the  fundamental  law  of  a  supersensible  nature,  and  of 
a  pure  world-  of  understanding,  whose  counterpart  must  exist 
in  the  world  of  sense,  but  without  interfering  with  its  laws. 
We  might  call  the  former  the  archetypal  world  (natura  archc- 
typa],  which  we  only  know  in  the  reason  ;  and  the  latter  the 
ectypal  world  (natura  ectypa},  because  it  contains  the  possible 
effect  of  the  idea  of  the  former  which  is  the  determining 
principle  of  the  will.  For  the  moral  law,  in  fact,  transfers 

[159]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  133 

us  ideally  into  a  system  in  which  pure  reason,  if  it  were 
accompanied  with  adequate  physical  power,  would  produce 
the  summum  bonum,  and  it  determines  our  will  to  give  the 
sensible  world  the  form  of  a  system  of  rational  beings.1 

The  least  attention  to  oneself  proves  that  this  idea  really 
serves  as  a  model  for  the  determinations  of  our  will. 

(159)  When  the  maxim  which  I  am  disposed  to  follow  in 
giving  testimony  is  tested  by  the  practical  reason,  I  always 
consider  what  it  would  be  if  it  were  to  hold  as  a  universal  law 
of  nature.  It  is  manifest  that  in  this  view  it  would  oblige 
everyone  to  speak  the  truth.  For  it  cannot  hold  as  a  universal 
law  of  nature  that  statements  should  be  allowed  to  have  the 
force  of  proof,  and  yet  to  be  purposely  untrue.  Similarly,  the 
maxim  which  I  adopt  with  respect  to  disposing  freely  of  my 
life  is  at  once  determined,  when  I  ask  myself  what  it  should  be, 
in  order  that  a  system,  of  which  it  is  the  law,  should  main 
tain  itself.  It  is  obvious  that  in  such  a  system  no  one  could 
arbitrarily  put  an  end  to  his  own  life,  for  such  an  arrangement 
would  not  be  a  permanent  order  of  things.  And  so  in  all 
similar  cases.  Now,  in  nature,  as  it  actually  is  an  object  of 
experience,  the  free  will  is  not  of  itself  determined  to  maxims 
which  could  of  themselves  be  the  foundation  of  a  natural  system 
of  universal  laws,  or  which  could  even  be  adapted  to  a  system 
so  constituted  ;  on  the  contrary,  its  maxims  are  private  inclina 
tions  which  constitute,  indeed,  a  natural  whole  in  conformity 
with  pathological  (physical)  laws,  but  could  not  form  part  of  a 
system  of  nature,  which  would  only  be  possible  through  our 
will  acting  in  .accordance  with  pure  practical  laws.  Yet  we  are, 
through  reason,  conscious  of  a  law  to  which  all  our  maxims  are 
subject,  as  though  a  natural  order  must  be  originated  from 
our  will.  This  law,  therefore,  must  be  the  idea  of  a  natural 
system  not  given  in  experience,  and  yet  possible  through  free 
dom  ;  a  system,  therefore,  which  is  supersensible,  and  to  which 
we  give  objective  reality,  at  least  in  a  practical  point  of  view, 
since  we  look  on  it  as  an  object  of  our  will  as  pure  rational  beings. 

1  [The  original  text  is,  I  think,  corrupt.] 

THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [l6l] 

Hence  the  distinction  between  the  laws  of  a  natural  system 
to  which  the  u'ill  is  subject,  and  of  a  natural  system  which  is 
subject  to  a  will  (as  far  as  its  relation  to  its  free  actions  is  con 
cerned)  (ieo),  rests  on  this,  that  in  the  former  the  objects  must 
be  causes  of  the  ideas  which  determine  the  will ;  whereas  in 
the  latter  the  will  is  the  cause  of  the  objects  ;  so  that  its  causa 
lity  has  its  determining  principle  solely  in  the  pure  faculty  of 
reason,  which  may  therefore  be  called  a  pure  practical  reason. 

There  are  therefore  two  very  distinct  problems :  how,  on  the 
one  side,  pure  reason  can  cognise  objects  a  priori,  and  how  on 
the  other  side  it  can  be  an  immediate  determining  principle  of 
the  will,  that  is,  of  the  causality  of  the  rational  being  with 
respect  to  the  reality  of  objects  (through  the  mere  thought  of 
the  universal  validity  of  its  own  maxims  as  laws). 

The  former,  which  belongs  to  the  critique  of  the  pure 
speculative  reason,  requires  a  previous  explanation,  how  intui 
tions  without  which  no  object  can  be  given,  and,  therefore, 
none  known  synthetically,  are  possible  d  priori ;  and  its  solu 
tion  turns  out  to  be  that  these  are  all  only  sensible,  and 
therefore  do  not  render  possible  any  speculative  knowledge 
which  goes  further  than  possible  experience  reaches ;  and  that 
therefore  all  the  principles  of  that  pure  speculative1  reason 
avail  only  to  make  experience  possible ;  either  experience  of 
given  objects  or  of  those  that  may  be  given  ad  infinitum,  but 
never  are  completely  given. 

The  latter,  which  belongs  to  the  critique  of  practical  reason, 
requires  no  explanation  how  the  objects  of  the  faculty  of  desire 
are  possible,  for  that  being  a  problem  of  the  theoretical  know 
ledge  of  nature  is  left  to  the  critique  of  the  speculative  reason, 
but  only  how  reason  can  determine  the  maxims,  of  the  will ; 
whether  this  takes  place  only  by  means  of  empirical  ideas  as 
principles  of  determination,  or  whether  pure  reason  can  be 
practical  and  be  the  law  of  a  possible  order  of  nature,  which 
is  not  empirically  knowable  (IGI).  The  possibility  of  such  a 
supersensible  system  of  nature,  the  conception  of  which  can 

1  [The  original  text  has  "  practical,"  obviously  an  error.] 

[162]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  135 

also  be  the  ground  of  its  reality  through  our  own  free  will, 
does  not  require  any  d  priori  intuition  (of  an  intelligible  world) 
which,  being  in  this  case  supersensible,  would  be  impossible  for 
us.  For  the  question  is  only  as  to  the  determining  principle 
of  volition  in  its  maxims,  namely,  whether  it  is  empirical,  or  is 
a  conception  of  the  pure  reason  (having  the  legal  character 
belonging  to  it  in  general),  and  how  it  can  be  the  latter.  It 
is  left  to  the  theoretic  principles  of  reason  to  decide  whether 
the  causality  of  the  will  suffices  for  the  realization  of  the  objects 
or  not,  this  being  an  inquiry  into  the  possibility  of  the  objects 
of  the  volition.  Intuition  of  these  objects  is  therefore  of  no 
importance  to  the  practical  problem.  We  are  here  concerned 
only  with  the  determination  of  the  will  and  the  determining 
principles  of  its  maxims  as  a  free  will,  not  at  all  with  the  result. 
For,  provided  only  that  the  will  conforms  to  the  law  of  pure 
reason,  then  let  its  power  in  execution  be  what  it  may,  whether 
according  to  these  maxims  of  legislation  of  a  possible  system 
of  nature  any  such  system  really  results  or  not,  this  is  no 
concern  of  the  critique,  which  only  inquires  whether,  and  in 
what  way,  pure  reason  can  be  practical,  that  is  directly  determine 
the  will. 

In  this  inquiry  criticism  may  and  must  begin  with  pure 
practical  laws  and  their  reality.  But  instead  of  intuition  it 
takes  as  their  foundation  the  conception  of  their  existence  in 
the  intelligible  world,  namely,  the  concept  of  freedom.  For 
this  concept  has  no  other  meaning,  and  these  laws  are  only 
possible  in  relation  to  freedom  of  the  will ;  but  freedom 
being  supposed,  they  are  necessary ;  or  conversely  freedom  is 
necessary  because  those  laws  are  necessary,  being  practical 
postulates.  It  cannot  be  further  explained  how  this  conscious 
ness  of  the  moral  law,  or,  what  is  the  same  thing,  of  freedom, 
is  possible  ;  but  that  it  is  admissible  is  well  established  in  the 
theoretical  critique. 

(162)  The  Exposition  of  the  supreme  principle  of  practical 
reason  is  now  finished ;  that  is  to  say,  it  has  been  shown  first, 
what  it  contains,  that  it  subsists  for  itself  quite  d  priori  and 
independent  on  empirical  principles ;  and  next  in  what  it  is 

l;!6  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l63J 

distinguished  from  all  other  practical  principles.  With  the 
deduction,  that  is,  the  justification  of  its  objective  and  universal 
validity,  and  the  discernment  of  the  possibility  of  such  a 
synthetical  proposition  a  priori,  we  cannot  expect  to  succeed 
so  well  as  in  the  case  of  the  principles  of  pure  theoretical 
reason.  For  these  referred  to  objects  of  possible  experience, 
namely,  to  phenomena ;  and  we  could  prove  that  these  pheno 
mena  could  be  known  as  objects  of  experience  only  by  being 
brought  under  the  categories  in  accordance  with  these  laws ; 
and  consequently  that  all  possible  experience  must  conform  to 
these  laws.  But  I  could  not  proceed  in  this  way  with  the 
deduction  of  the  moral  law.  For  this  does  not  concern  the 
knowledge  of  the  properties  of  objects,  which  may  be  given 
to  the  reason  from  some  other  source ;  but  a  knowledge  which 
can  itself  be  the  ground  of  the  existence  of  the  objects,  and 
by  which  reason  in  a  rational  being  has  causality,  i.e.  pure 
reason,  which  can  be  regarded  as  a  faculty  immediately 
determining  the  will. 

Now  all  our  human  insight  is  at  an  end  as  soon  as  we  have 
arrived  at  fundamental  powers  or  faculties ;  for  the  possibility 
of  these  cannot  be  understood  by  any  means,  and  just  as  little 
should  it  be  arbitrarily  invented  and  assumed.  Therefore,  in 
the  theoretic  use  of  reason,  it  is  experience  alone  that  can 
justify  us  in  assuming  them.  But  this  expedient  of  adducing 
empirical  proofs,  instead  of  a  deduction  from  a  priori  sources 
of  knowledge,  is  denied  us  here  in  respect  to  the  pure  practical 
faculty  of  reason  (IGS).  For  whatever  requires  to  draw  the 
proof  of  its  reality  from  experience  must  depend  for  the 
grounds  of  its  possibility  on  principles  of  experience ;  and  pure, 
yet  practical,  reason  by  its  very  notion  cannot  be  regarded  as 
such.  Further,  the  moral  law  is  given  as  a  fact  of  pure  reason 
of  which  we  are  a  priori  conscious,  and  which  is  apodictically 
certain,  though  it  be  granted  that  in  experience  no  example  of 
its  exact  fulfilment  can  be  found.  Hence  the  objective  reality 
of  the  moral  law  cannot  be  proved  by  any  deduction  by  any 
efforts  of  theoretical  reason,  whether  speculative  or  empirically 
supported,  and  therefore,  even  if  we  renounced  its  apodictic 

[164]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  137 

certainty,  it  could  not  be  proved  a  posteriori  by  experience,  and 
yet  it  is  firmly  established  of  itself. 

But  instead  of  this  vainly  sought  deduction  of  the  moral 
principle,  something  else  is  found  which  was  quite  unexpected, 
namely,  that  this  moral  principle  serves  conversely  as  the 
principle  of  the  deduction  of  an  inscrutable  faculty  which  no 
experience  could  prove,  but  of  which  speculative  reason  was 
compelled  at  least  to  assume  the  possibility  (in  order  to  find 
amongst  its  cosmological  ideas  the  unconditioned  in  the  chain 
of  causality,  so  as  not  to  contradict  itself) — I  mean  the  faculty 
of  freedom.  The  moral  law,  which  itself  does  not  require  a 
justification,  proves  not  merely  the  possibility  of  freedom,  but 
that  it  really  belongs  to  beings  who  recognize  this  law  as 
binding  on  themselves.  The  moral  law  is  in  fact  a  law  of  the 
causality  of  free  agents,  and  therefore  of  the  possibility  of  a 
supersensible  system  of  nature,  just  as  the  metaphysical  law  of 
events  in  the  world  of  sense  was  a  law  of  causality  of  the 
sensible  system  of  nature ;  and  it  therefore  determines  what 
speculative  philosophy  was  compelled  to  leave  undetermined, 
namely,  the  law  for  a  causality,  the  concept  of  which  in  the 
latter  was  only  negative ;  and  therefore  for  the  first  time  gives 
this  concept  objective  reality. 

(i64)  This  sort  of  credential  of  the  moral  law,  viz.  that  it  is 
set  forth  as  a  principle  of  the  deduction  of  freedom,  which  is  a 
causality  of  pure  reason,  is  a  sufficient  substitute  for  all  d  priori 
justification,  since  theoretic  reason  was  compelled  to  assume  at 
least  the  possibility  of  freedom,  in  order  to  satisfy  a  want  of  its 
own.  For  the  moral  law  proves  its  reality,  so  as  even  to  satisfy 
the  critique  of  the  speculative  reason,  by  the  fact  that  it  adds 
a  positive  definition  to  a  causality  previously  conceived  only 
negatively,  the  possibility  of  which  was  incomprehensible  to 
speculative  reason,  which  yet  was  compelled  to  suppose  it. 
For  it  adds  the  notion  of  a  reason  that  directly  determines  the 
will  (by  imposing  on  its  maxims  the  condition  of  a  universal 
legislative  form)  ;  and  thus  it  is  able  for  the  first  time  to  give 
objective,  though  only  practical,  reality  to  reason,  which  always 
became  transcendent  when  it  sought  to  proceed  speculatively 

138  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [ifio] 

with  its  ideas.  It  thus  changes  the  transcendent  use  of  reason 
into  an  immanent1  use  (so  that  reason  is  itself,  by  means  of 
ideas,  an  efficient  cause  in  the  field  of  experience). 

The  determination  of  the  causality  of  beings  in  the  world  of 
sense,  as  such,  can  never  be  unconditioned ;  and  yet  for  every 
series  of  conditions  there  must  be  something  unconditioned, 
and  therefore  there  must  be  a  causality  which  is  determined 
wholly  by  itself.  Hence,  the  idea  of  freedom  as  a  faculty  of 
absolute  spontaneity  was  not  found  to  be  a  want,  but  as  far  as 
its  possibility  is  concerned,  an  analytic  principle  of  pure  specu 
lative  reason.  But  as  it  is  absolutely  impossible  to  find  in 
experience  any  example  in  accordance  with  this  idea,  because 
amongst  the  causes  of  things  as  phenomena,  it  would  be  impos 
sible  to  meet  with  any  absolutely  unconditioned  determination 
of  causality,  we  were  only  able  to  defend  our  supposition  that  a 
freely  acting  cause  might  be  a  being  in  the  world  of  sense,  in 
so  far  as  it  is  considered  in  the  other  point  of  view  as  a 
noumenon  (165),  showing  that  there  is  no  contradiction  in 
regarding  all  its  actions  as  subject  to  physical  conditions  so  far 
as  they  are  phenomena,  and  yet  regarding  its  causality  as. 
physically  unconditioned,  in  so  far  as  the  acting  being  belongs 
to  the  world  of  understanding,2  and  in  thus  making  the  concept 
of  freedom  the  regulative  principle  of  reason.  By  this  principle 
I  do  not  indeed  learn  what  the  object  is  to  which  that  sort  of 
causality  is  attributed  ;  but  I  remove  the  difficulty  ;  for,  on  the 
one  side,  in  the  explanation  of  events  in  the  world,  and  conse 
quently  also  of  the  actions  of  rational  beings,  I  leave  to  the 
mechanism  of  physical  necessity  the  right  of  ascending  from 
conditioned  to  condition  ad  infinitum,  while  on  the  other 
side  I  keep  open  for  speculative  reason  the  place  which  for 
it  is  vacant,  namely,  the  intelligible,  in  order  to  transfer  the 

1  [By  "immanent"  Kant  means  what  is  strictly  confined  within  the 
limits  of  experience;  by  "transcendent"  what  pretends  to  overpass 
these  bounds.  Cf.  Kritik  der  reiiien  Vernunft,  ed.  Rosenkr.,  p.  240. 
Meiklejohn's  transl.,  p.  210.] 

-  [Is  a  "  Verstandeswesen."] 

[166]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  139 

unconditioned  thither.  But  I  was  not  able  to  verify  this 
supposition',  that  is,  to  change  it  into  the  knowledge  of  a  being 
so  acting,  not  even  into  the  knowledge  of  the  possibility  of  such 
a  being.  This  vacant  place  is  now  filled  by  pure  practical 
reason  with  a  definite  law  of  causality  in  an  intelligible  world 
(causality  with  freedom),  namely,  the  moral  law.  Speculative 
reason  does  not  hereby  gain  anything  as  regards  its  insight,  but 
only  as  regards  the  certainty  of  its  problematical  notion  of 
freedom,  which  here  obtains  objective  reality,  which,  though  only 
practical,  is  nevertheless  undoubted.  Even  the  notion  of  caus 
ality — the  application,  and  consequently  the  signification,  of 
which  holds  properly  only  in  relation  to  phenomena,  so  as  to 
connect  them  into  experiences  (as  is  shown  by  the  critique  of 
pure  reason) — is  not  so  enlarged  as  to  extend  its  use  beyond 
these  limits.  For  if  reason  sought  to  do  this,  it  would  have  to 
show  how  the  logical  relation  of  principle  and  consequence  can 
be  used  synthetically  in  a  different  sort  of  intuition  from  the 
sensible  ;  that  is  how  a  causa  noumenon  is  possible  (IGG).  This 
it  can  never  do  ;  and,  as  practical  reason,  it  does  not  even  concern 
itself  with  it,  since  it  only  places  the  determining  principle  of 
causality  of  man  as  a  sensible  creature  (which  is  given)  in  pure 
reason  (which  is  therefore  called  practical)  ;  and  therefore  it 
employs  the  notion  of  cause,  not  in  order  to  know  objects,  but 
to  determine  causality  in  relation  to  objects  in  general.  It  can 
abstract  altogether  from  the  application  of  this  notion  to  objects 
with  a  view  to  theoretical  knowledge  (since  this  concept  is  always 
found  d  priori  in  the  understanding,  even  independently  on  any 
intuition).  Eeason,  then,  employs  it  only  for  a  practical  purpose, 
and  hence  we  can  transfer  the  determining  principle  of  the 
will  into  the  intelligible  order  of  things,  admitting,  at  the  same 
time,  that  we  cannot  understand  how  the  notion  of  cause  can 
determine  the  knowledge  of  these  things.  But  reason  must 
cognise  causality  with  respect  to  the  actions  of  the  will  in  the 
sensible  world  in  a  definite  manner ;  otherwise,  practical  reason 
could  not  really  produce  any  action.  But  as  to  the  notion 
which  it  forms  of  its  own  causality  as  noumenon,  it  need  not 
determine  it  theoretically  with  a  view  to  the  cognition  of  its 

140  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l68] 

supersensible  existence,  so  as  to  give  it  significance  in  this  way. 
For  it  acquires  significance  apart  from  this,  though  only  for 
practical  use,  namely,  through  the  moral  law.  Theoretically 
viewed,  it  remains  always  a  pure  d  priori  concept  of  the  under 
standing,  which  can  be  applied  to  objects  whether  they  have 
been  given  sensibly  or  not,  although  in  the  latter  case  it  has 
no  definite  theoretical  significance  or  application,  but  is  only 
a  formal,  though  essential,  conception  of  the  understanding 
relating  to  an  object  in  general.  The  significance  which  reason 
gives  it  through  the  moral  law  is  merely  practical,  inasmuch  as 
the  idea  of  the  law  of  causality  (of  the  will)  has  itself  causality, 
or  is  its  determining  principle. 

(i67)  II. — Of  the  riyht  that  Pure  Reason  in  its  practical  use  has  to 
an  extension  which  is  not  possible  to  it  in  its  speculative  use. 

We  have  in  the  moral  principle  set  forth  a  law  of  causality, 
the  determining  principle  of  which  is  set  above  all  the  condi 
tions  of  the  sensible  world ;  we  have  it  conceived  how  the  will, 
as  belonging  to  the  intelligible  world,  is  determinable,  and 
therefore  we  have  its  subject  (man)  not  merely  conceived  as 
belonging  to  a  world  of  pure  understanding,  and  in  this  respect 
unknown  (which  the  critique  of  speculative  reason  enabled  us 
to  do),  but  also  defined  as  regards  his  causality  by  means  of  a 
law  which  cannot  be  reduced  to  any  physical  law  of  the  sensible 
world ;  and  therefore  our  knowledge  is  extended  beyond  the 
limits  of  that  world — a  pretension  which  the  critique  of  the  pure 
reason  declared  to  be  futile  in  all  speculation.  Now,  how  is 
the  practical  use  of  pure  reason  here  to  be  reconciled  with 
the  theoretical,  as  to  the  determination  of  the  limits  of  its 
faculty  ? 

David  Hume,  of  whom  we  may  say  that  he  commenced  the 
assault  on  the  claims  of  pure  reason,  which  made  a  thorough 
investigation  of  it  necessary,  argued  thus  :  the  notion  of  cause 
is  a  notion  that  involves  the  necessity  of  the  connexion  of  the 
existence  of  different  things,  and  that,  in  so  far  as  they  are 
different,  so  that,  given  A,  I  know  that  something  quite  dis 
tinct  therefrom,  namely  B,  must  necessarily  also  exist  (168). 

[169]  PUKE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  141 

Now  necessity  can  be  attributed  to  a  connexion,  only  in  so  far 
as  it  is  known  a  priori ;  for  experience  would  only  enable  us  to 
know  of  such  a  connexion  that  it  exists,  not  that  it  necessarily 
exists.  Now,  it  is  impossible,  says  he,  to  know  a  priori  and  as 
necessary  the  connexion  between  one  thing  and  another  (or 
between  one  attribute  and  another  quite  distinct)  when  they 
have  not  been  given  in  experience.  Therefore  the  notion  of  a 
cause  is  fictitious  and  delusive,  and,  to  speak  in  the  mildest 
way,  is  an  illusion,  only  excusable  inasmuch  as  the  custom  (a 
subjective  necessity)  of  perceiving  certain  things,  or  their  attri 
butes  as  often  associated  in  existence  along  with  or  in  succession 
to  one  another,  is  insensibly  taken  for  an  objective  necessity  of 
supposing  such  a  connexion  in  the  objects  themselves,  and  thus 
the  notion  of  a  cause  has  been  acquired  surreptitiously  and  not 
legitimately ;  nay,  it  can  never  be  so  acquired  or  authenticated, 
since  it  demands  a  connexion  in  itself  vain,  chimerical,  and 
untenable  in  presence  of  reason,  and  to  which  no  object  can 
ever  correspond.  In  this  way  was  empiricism  first  introduced 
as  the  sole  source  of  principles,  as  far  as  all  knowledge  of  the 
existence  of  things  is  concerned  (mathematics  therefore  remain 
ing  excepted);  and  with  empiricism  the  most  thorough  scepticism, 
even  with  regard  to  the  whole  science  of  nature  (as  philosophy). 
For  on  such  principles  we  can  never  conclude  from  given  attri 
butes  of  things  as  existing  to  a  consequence  (for  this  would 
require  the  notion  of  cause,  which  involves  the  necessity  of  such 
a  connexion) ;  we  can  only,  guided  by  imagination,  expect 
similar  cases — an  expectation  which  is  never  certain,  however 
often  it  has  been  fulfilled.  Of  no  event  could  we  say  :  a  certain 
thing  must  have  preceded  it  (169),  on  which  it  necessarily 
followed  ;  that  is,  it  must  have  a  cause  ;  and,  therefore,  however 
frequent  the  cases  we  have  known  in  which  there  was  such  an 
antecedent,  so  that  a  rule  could  be  derived  from  them,  yet  we 
never  could  suppose  it  as  always  and  necessarily  so  happening ; 
we  should,  therefore,  be  obliged  to  leave  its  share  to  blind 
chance,  with  which  all  use  of  reason  comes  to  an  end ;  and  this 
firmly  establishes  scepticism  in  reference  to  arguments  ascend 
ing  from  effects  to  causes,  and  makes  it  impregnable. 

142  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l?o] 

Mathematics  escaped  well,  so  far,  because  Hume  thought 
that  its  propositions  were  analytical ;  that  is,  proceeded  from 
one  property  to  another,  by  virtue  of  identity,  and  consequently 
according  to  the  principle  of  contradiction.  This,  however,  is 
not  the  case,  since,  on  the  contrary,  they  are  synthetical ;  and 
although  geometry,  for  example,  has  not  to  do  with  the  exis 
tence  of  things,  but  only  with  their  a  priwi  properties  in  a 
possible  intuition,  yet  it  proceeds  just  as  in  the  case  of  the 
causal  notion,  from  one  property  (A)  to  another  wholly  distinct 
(B),  as  necessarily  connected  with  the  former.  Nevertheless, 
mathematical  science,  so  highly  vaunted  for  its  apodictic 
certainty,  must  at  last  fall  under  this  empiricism  for  the  same 
reason  for  which  Hume  put  custom  in  the  place  of  objective 
necessity  in  the  notion  of  cause,  and,  in  spite  of  all  its  pride, 
must  consent  to  lower  its  bold  pretension  of  claiming  assent 
d  priori,  and  depend  for  assent  to  the  universality  of  its  pro 
positions  on  the  kindness  of  observers,  who,  when  called  as 
witnesses,  would  surely  not  hesitate  to  admit  that  what  the 
geometer  propounds  as  a  theorem  they  have  always  perceived 
to  be  the  fact,  and,  consequently,  although  it  be  not  necessarily 
true,  yet  they  would  permit  us  to  expect  it  to  be  true  in  the 
future.  In  this  manner  Hume's  empiricism  leads  inevitably  to 
scepticism,  even  with  regard  (170)  to  mathematics,  and  conse 
quently  in  every  scientific  theoretical  use  of  reason  (for  this 
belongs  either  to  philosophy  or  mathematics).  Whether  with 
such  a  terrible  overthrow  of  the  chief  branches  of  knowledge, 
common  reason  will  escape  better,  and  will  not  rather  become 
irrecoverably  involved  in  this  destruction  of  all  knowledge,  so 
that  from  the  same  principles  a  universal  scepticism  should 
follow  (affecting,  indeed,  only  the  learned),  this  I  will  leave 
everyone  to  judge  for  himself. 

As  regards  my  own  labours  in  the  critical  examination  of 
pure  reason,  which  were  occasioned  by  Humes  sceptical  teach 
ing,  but  went  much  further,  and  embraced  the  whole  field  of 
pure  theoretical  reason  in  its  synthetic  use,  and,  consequently, 
the  field  of  what  is  called  metaphysics  in  general ;  I  proceeded 
in  the  following  manner  with  respect  to  the  doubts  raised  by 

[l7l]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  143 

the  Scottish  philosopher  touching  the  notion  of  causality.  If 
Hume  took  the  objects  of  experience  for  things  in  themselves 
(as  is  almost  always  done),  he  was  quite  right  in  declaring 
the  notion  of  cause  to  be  a  deception  and  false  illusion ;  for 
as  to  things  in  themselves,  and  their  attributes  as  such,  it  is 
impossible  to  see  why  because  A  is  given,  B,  which  is  different, 
must  necessarily  be  also  given,  and  therefore  he  could  by  no 
means  admit  such  an  d  priori  knowledge  of  things  in  them 
selves.  Still  less  could  this  acute  writer  allow  an  empirical 
origin  of  this  concept,  since  this  is  directly  contradictory  to 
the  necessity  of  connexion  which  constitutes  the  essence  of 
the  notion  of  causality ;  .hence  the  notion  was  proscribed,  and 
in  its  place  was  put  custom  in  the  observation  of  the  course 
of  perceptions. 

It  resulted,  however,  from  my  inquiries,  that  the  objects 
with  which  we  have  to  do  in  experience  (m)  are  by  no 
means  things  in  themselves,  but  merely  phenomena ;  and  that 
although  in  the  case  of  things  in  themselves  it  is  impossible 
to  see  how,  if  A  is  supposed,  it  should  be  contradictory  that 
B,  which  is  quite  different  from  A,  should  not  also  be  supposed 
(i.e.  to  see  the  necessity  of  the  connexion  between  A  as  cause 
and  B  as  effect) ;  yet  it  can  very  well  be  conceived  that,  as 
phenomena,  they  may  be  necessarily  connected  in  one  experience 
in  a  certain  way  (e.g.  with  regard  to  time-relations);  so  that 
they  could  not  be  separated  without  contradicting  that  con 
nexion,  by  means  of  which  this  experience  is  possible  in  which 
they  are  objects,  and  in  which  alone  they  are  cognisable  by  us. 
And  so  it  was  found  to  be  in  fact ;  so  that  I  was  able  not  only 
to  prove  the  objective  reality  of  the  concept  of  cause  in  regard 
to  objects  of  experience,  but  also  to  deduce  it  as  an  d  priori 
concept  by  reason  of  the  necessity  of  the  connexion  it  implied ; 
that  is,  to  show  the  possibility  of  its  origin  from  pure  under 
standing  without  any  empirical  sources ;  and  thus,  after  re 
moving  the  sources  of  empiricism,  I  was  also  able  to  overthrow 
the  inevitable  consequence  of  this,  namely,  scepticism,  first 
with  regard  to  physical  science,  and  then  with  regard  to  mathe 
matics  (in  which  empiricism  has  just  the  same  grounds),  both 

144  THE  ANALYTIC   OF  [172] 

being  sciences  which  have  reference  to  objects  of  possible 
experience ;  herewith  overthrowing  the  thorough  doubt  of 
whatever  theoretic  reason  professes  to  discern. 

But  how  is  it  with  the   application  of   this   category  of 
causality  (and  all  the  others;  for  without  them  there  can  be 
no  knowledge  of  anything  existing)  to  things  which  are  not 
objects  of  possible  experience,  but  lie  beyond  its  bounds  ?     For 
I  was  able  to  deduce  the  objective  reality  of  these  concepts  only 
with  regard  to  objects  of  possible  experience  (172).     But  even  this 
very  fact,  that  I  have  saved  them,  only  in  case  I  have  proved 
that  objects  may  by  means  of  them  be  thought,  though  not 
determined  a  priori ;  this  it  is  that  gives  them  a  place  in  the 
pure  understanding,  by  which  they  are  referred  to  objects  in 
general  (sensible  or  not  sensible).     If  anything  is  still  wanting, 
it  is  that  which  is  the  condition  of  the  application  of  these 
categories,  and  especially  that  of  causality,  to  objects,  namely, 
intuition ;  for  where  this  is  not  given,  the  application  with  a 
view   to   theoretic   knowledge  of  the   object,  as   a   noumenon,  is 
impossible ;  and  therefore  if  anyone  ventures  on  it,  is  (as  in 
the  critique  of  the  pure  reason)  absolutely  forbidden.     Still, 
the  objective  reality  of  the  concept  (of  causality)  remains,  and 
it  can  be  used  even  of  noumena,  but  without  our  being  able 
in  the  least  to  define  the  concept  theoretically  so  as  to  produce 
knowledge.      For  that  this  concept,  even  in  reference  to  an 
object,  contains  nothing  impossible,  was  shown  by  this,  that 
even  while  applied  to  objects  of  sense,  its  seat  was  certainly 
fixed  in  the  pure  understanding ;  and  although,  when  referred 
to  things  in  themselves  (which  cannot  be  objects  of  experience), 
it  is  not  capable  of  being  determined  so  as  to  represent  a  definite 
object  for  the  purpose  of  theoretic  knowledge  ;  yet  for  any  other 
purpose  (for  instance,  a  practical)  it  might  be  capable  of  being 
determined  so  as  to  have  such  application.     This  could  not  be 
the   case  if,  as  Hume  maintained,  this   concept  of  causality 
contained  something  absolutely  impossible  to  be  thought.; 

In  order  now  to  discover  this  condition  of  the  application 
of  the  said  concept  to  noumena,  we  need  only  recall  why  we 
are  not  content  with  its  application  to  objects  of  experience,  but 

[174]  PUKE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  145 

desire  also  to  apply  it  to  things  in  themselves.  It  will  appear, 
then,  that  it  is  not  a  theoretic  but  a  practical  purpose  (173) 
that  makes  this  a  necessity.  In  speculation,  even  if  we  were 
successful  in  it,  we  should  not  really  gain  anything  in  the 
knowledge  of  nature,  or  generally  with  regard  to  such  objects 
as  are  given,  but  we  should  make  a  wide  step  from  the  sensibly 
conditioned  (in  which  we  have  already  enough  to  do  to  main 
tain  ourselves,  and  to  follow  carefully  the  chain  of  causes)  to 
the  supersensible,  in  order  to  complete  our  knowledge  of  prin 
ciples  and  to  fix  its  limits :  whereas  there  always  remains  an 
infinite  chasm  unfilled  between  those  limits  and  what  we  know : 
and  we  should  have  hearkened  to  a  vain  curiosity  rather  than  a 
solid  desire  of  knowledge. 

But,  besides  the  relation  in  which  the  understanding  stands 
to  objects  (in  theoretical  knowledge),  it  has  also  a  relation  to 
the  faculty  of  desire,  which  is  therefore  called  the  will,  and  the 
pure  will,  inasmuch  as  pure  understanding  (in  this  case  called 
reason)  is  practical  through  the  mere  conception  of  a  law.  The 
objective  reality  of  a  pure  will,  or,  what  is  the  same  thing,  of  a 
pure  practical  reason,  is  given  in  the  moral  law  d  priori,  as  it 
were,  by  a  fact,  for  so  we  may  name  a  determination  of  the  will 
which  is  inevitable,  although  it  does  not  rest  on  empirical  prin 
ciples.  Now,  in  the  notion  of  a  will  the  notion  of  causality  is  , 
already  contained,  and  hence  the  notion  of  a  pure  will  contains 
that  of  a  causality  accompanied  with  freedom,  that  is,  one  which 
is  not  determinate  by  physical  laws,  and  consequently  is  not 
capable  of  any  empirical  intuition  in  proof  of  its  reality,  but, 
nevertheless,  completely  justifies  its  objective  reality  d  priori  in 
the  pure  practical  law ;  not,  indeed  (as  is  easily  seen)  for  the 
purposes  of  the  theoretical,  but  of  the  practical  use  of  reason. 
Now,  the  notion  of  a  being  that  has  free  will  is  the  notion  of  a 
causa  noumenon ;  and  that  this  notion  involves  no  contradiction 
(174)  we  are  already  assured  by  the  fact  that,  inasmuch  as  the 
concept  of  cause  has  arisen  wholly  from  pure  understanding, 
and  has  its  objective  reality  assured  by  the  Deduction,  as  it  is 
moreover  in  its  origin  independent  on  any  sensible  conditions, 
it  is,  therefore,  not  restricted  to  phenomena  (unless  we  wanted 


146  THE    ANALYTIC    OF  [l75] 

to  make  a  definite  theoretic  use  of  it),  but  can  be  applied 
equally  to  things  that  are  objects  of  the  pure  understanding. 
But,  since  this  application  cannot  rest  on  any  intuition  (for 
intuition  can  only  be  sensible),  therefore,  causa  noumenon,  as 
regards  the  theoretic  use  of  reason,  although  a  possible  and 
thinkable,  is  yet  an  empty  notion.  Now,  I  do  not  desire  by 
means  of  this  to  understand  theoretically  the  nature  of  a  being, 
in  so  far  as  it  has  a  pure  will ;  it  is  enough  for  me  to  have 
thereby  designated  it  as  such,  and  hence  to  combine  the  notion 
of  causality  with  that  of  freedom  (and  what  is  inseparable  from 
it,  the  moral  law,  as  its  determining  principle).  Now,  this  right 
I  certainly  have  by  virtue  of  the  pure,  not-empirical  origin  of 
the  notion  of  cause,  since  I  do  not  consider  myself  entitled  to 
make  any  use  of  it  except  in  reference  to  the  moral  law  which 
determines  its  reality,  that  is,  only  a  practical  use. 

If,  with  Hume,  I  had  denied  to  the  notion  of  causality  all 
objective  reality  in  its  [theoretic1]  use,  not  merely  with  regard 
to  things  in  themselves  (the  supersensible),  but  also  with  regard 
to  the  objects  of  the  senses,  it  would  have  lost  all  significance, 
and  being  a  theoretically  impossible  notion  would  have  been 
declared  to  be  quite  useless ;  and  since  what  is  nothing  cannot 
be  made  any  use  of,  the  practical  use  of  a  concept  theoretically 
null  would  have  been  absurd.  But,  as  it  is,  the  concept  of 
a  causality  free  from  empirical  conditions,  although  empty 
(i.e.  without  any  appropriate  intuition),  is  yet  theoretically 
possible  (175),  and  refers  to  an  indeterminate  object;  but  in 
compensation  significance  is  given  to  it  in  the  moral  law,  and 
consequently  in  a  practical  sense.  I  have,  indeed,  no  intuition 
which  should  determine  its  objective  theoretic  reality,  but  not 
the  less  it  has  a  real  application,  which  is  exhibited  in  concrete 
in  intentions  or  maxims  ;  that  is,  it  has  a  practical  reality 
which  can  be  specified,  and  this  is  sufficient  to  justify  it  even 
with  a  view  to  noumena. 

Now,  this  objective  reality  of  a  pure  concept  of  the  under 
standing  in  the  sphere  of  the  supersensible,  once  brought  in, 

:  [The  original  has  "  practical  ";  clearly  an  error.] 

[175]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  147 

gives  an  objective  reality  also  to  all  the  other  categoriesj 
although  only  so  far  as  they  stand  in  necessary  connexion  with 
the  determining  principle  of  the  will  (the  moral  law) ;  a  reality 
only  of  practical  application,  which  has  not  the  least  effect  in 
enlarging  our  theoretical  knowledge  of  these  objects,  or  the 
discernment  of  their  nature  by  pure  reason.  So  we  shall  find 
also  in  the  sequel  that  these  categories  refer  only  to  beings  as 
intelligences,  and  in  them  only  to  the  relation  of  reason  to  the 
will ;  consequently,  always  only  to  the  practical,  and  beyond 
this  cannot  pretend  to  any  knowledge  of  these  things;  and 
whatever  other  properties  belonging  to  the  theoretical  repre 
sentation  of  supersensible  things  may  be  brought  into  connexion 
with  these  categories,  this  is  not  to  be  reckoned  as  knowledge, 
but  only  as  a  right  (in  a  practical  point  of  view,  however,  it  is 
a  necessity)  to  admit  and  assume  such  beings,  even  in  the 
case  where  we  [conceive1]  supersensible  beings  (e.g.  God)  accord 
ing  to  analogy,  that  is,  a  purely  rational  relation,  of  which  we 
make  a  practical  use  with  reference  to  what  is  sensible ;  and 
thus  the  application  to  the  supersensible  solely  in  a  practical 
point  of  view  does  not  give  jmre  theoretic  reason  the  least 
encouragement  to  run  riot  into  the  transcendent. 

1  [The  verb,  indispensable  to  the  sense,  is  absent  from  the  original 


148  THE   ANALYTIC  "OF  [177] 

(176)  CHAPTEE  II. 


BY  a  concept  of  the  practical  reason  I  understand  the  idea  of 
an  object  as  an  effect  possible  to  be  produced  through  freedom. 
To  be  an  object  of  practical  knowledge,  as  such,  signifies, 
therefore,  only  the  relation  of  the  will  to  the  action  by  which 
the  object  or  its  opposite  would  be  realized  ;  and  to  decide 
whether  something  is  an  object  of  pure  practical  reason  or  not, 
is  only  to  discern  the  possibility  or  impossibility  of  willing  the 
action  by  which,  if  we  had  the  required  power  (about  which 
experience  must  decide),  a  certain  object  would  be  realized.  If 
the  object  be  taken  as  the  determining  principle  of  our  desire, 
it  must  first  be  known  whether  it  is  physically  possible  by  the 
free  use  of  our  powers,  before  we  decide  whether  it  is  an  object 
of  practical  reason  or  not.  On  the  other  hand,  if  the  law  can 
be  considered  d  priori  as  the  determining  principle  of  the 
action,  and  the  latter  therefore  as  determined  by  pure  practical 
reason;  the  judgment  whether  a  thing  (177)  is  an  object  of 
pure  practical  reason  or  not  does  not  depend  at  all  on  the 
comparison  with  our  physical  power ;  and  the  question  is  only 
whether  we  should  will  an  action  that  is  directed  to  the  exist 
ence  of  an  object,  if  the  object  were  in  our  power ;  hence  the 
previous  question  is  only  as  to  the  moral  possibility  of  the 
action,  for  in  this  case  it  is  not  the  object,  but  the  law  of  the 
will,  that  is  the  determining  principle  of  the  action.  The  only 
objects  of  practical  reason  are  therefore  those  of  good  and  evil. 
For  by  the  former  is  meant  an  object  necessarily  desired 
according  to  a  principle  of  reason  ;  by  the  latter  one  necessarily 
shunned,  also  according  to  a  principle  of  reason. 

If  the  notion  of  good  is  not  to  be  derived  from  an  antecedent 

[l78]  PURE  PRACTICAL   REASON.  149 

practical  law,  but,  on  the  contrary,  is  to  serve  as  its  foundation, 
it  can  only  be  the  notion  of  something  whose  existence  promises 
pleasure,  and  thus  determines  the  causality  of  the  subject  to 
produce  it,  that  is  to  say,  determines  the  faculty  of  desire. 
Now,  since  it  is  impossible  to  discern  d  priori  what  idea  will  be 
accompanied  with  pleasure,  and  what  with  pain,  it  will  depend 
on  experience  alone  to  find  out  what  is  primarily1  good  or  evil. 
vThe  property  of  the  subject,  with  reference  to  which  alone 
this  experiment  can  be  made,  is  the  feeling  of  pleasure  and 
pain,  a  receptivity  belonging  to  the  internal  sense ;  thus  that 
only  would  be  primarily  good  with  which  the  sensation  of 
pleasure  is  immediately  connected,  and  that  simply  evil  which 
immediately  excites  pain.  Since,  however,  this  is  opposed 
even  to  the  usage  of  language,  which  distinguishes  the  pleasant 
from  the  good,  the  unpleasant  from  the  evil,  and  requires  that 
good  and  evil  shall  always  be  judged  by  reason,  and,  therefore, 
by  concepts  which  can  be  communicated  to  everyone,  and  not 
by  mere  sensation,  which  is  limited  to  individual  subjects2  and 
their  susceptibility  (ITS)  ;  and,  since  nevertheless,  pleasure  or 
pain  cannot  be  connected  with  any  idea  of  an  object  d  priori, 
the  philosopher  who  thought  himself  obliged  to  make  a  feeling 
of  pleasure  the  foundation  of  his  practical  judgments  would 
call  that  good  which  is  a  means  to  the  pleasant,  and  evil,  what  is 
a  cause  of  unpleasantness  and  pain ;  for  the  judgment  on  the 
relation  of  means  to  ends  certainly  belongs  to  reason.  But, 
although  reason  is  alone  capable  of  discerning  the  connexion  of 
means  with  'their  ends  (so  that  the  will  might  even  be  denned 
as  the  faculty  of  ends,  since  these  are  always  determining 
principles  of  the  desires),  yet  the  practical  maxims  which  would 
follow  from  the  aforesaid  principle  of  the  good  being  merely  a 
means,  would  never  contain  as  the  object  of  the  will  anything 
good  in  itself,  but  only  something  good  for  something  ;  the  good 
would  always  be  merely  the  useful,  and  that  for  which  it  is 

1  [Or  "  immediately,"  i.e.  without  reference  to  any  ulterior  result.] 

2  [The  original  has  "objects"  [objecte],  which  makes  no  sense.   I  have 
therefore  ventured  to  correct  it.] 

150  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l79] 

useful  must  always  lie  outside  the  will,  in  sensation.  Now  if 
this  as  a  pleasant  sensation  were  to  be  distinguished  from  the 
notion  of  good,  then  there  would  be  nothing  primarily  good  at 
all,  but  the  good  would  have  to  be  sought  only  in  the  means  to 
something  else,  namely,  some  pleasantness. 

It  is  an  old  formula  of  the  schools  :  Nihil  appctimus  nisi  sub 
ratione  boni  ;  Nihil  avcrsamvr  nisi  sub  ratione  mali  ;  and  it  is  used 
often  correctly,  but  often  also  in  a  manner  injurious  to  philo 
sophy,  because  the  expressions  boni  and  mali  are  ambiguous, 
owing  to  the  poverty  of  language,  in  consequence  of  which 
they  admit  a  double  sense,  and,  therefore,  inevitably  bring  the 
practical  laws  into  ambiguity  ;  and  philosophy,  which  in  employ 
ing  them  becomes  aware  of  the  different  meanings  in  the  same 
word,  but  can  find  no  special  expressions  for  them,  is  driven 
to  subtle  distinctions  about  which  there  is  subsequently  no 
unanimity,  because  the  distinction  (179)  could  not  be  directly 
marked  by  any  suitable  expression.1 

The  German  language  has  the  good  fortune  to  possess  expres 
sions  which  do  not  allow  this  difference  to  be  overlooked. 
It  possesses  two  very  distinct  concepts,  and  especially  distinct 
expressions,  for  that  which  the  Latins  express  by  a  single  word, 
bonum.  For  bonum  it  has  "  das  Gute  "  [good],  and  "  das 
Wohl  "  [well,  weal],  for  malum  "  das  Bose  "  [evil],  and  "  das 
Ubel"[ill,  bad],  or  "das  Weh  "  [woe].  So  that  we  express 
two  quite  distinct  judgments  when  we  consider  in  an  action  the 
(food  and  cril  of  it,  or  our  v.val  and  woe  (ill).  Hence  it  already 
follows  that  the  above-quoted  psychological  proposition  is  at 
least  very  doubtful  if  it  is  translated  :  "  we  desire  nothing 
except  with  a  view  to  our  it'cal  or  woe  "  ;  on  the  other 

1  Besides  this,  the  expression  sub  ratione  boni  is  also  ambiguous.  For 
it  may  mean  :  We  represent  something  to  ourselves  as  good,  when  and 
because  we  desire  (will)  it  ;  or,  we  desire  something  because  we  represent 
it  to  ourselves  as  good,  so  that  either  the  desire  determines  the  notion  of 
the  object  as  good,  or  the  notion  of  good  determines  the  desire  (the  will)  ; 
so  that  in  the  first  case  sub  ratione  boni  would  mean  we  will  something 
under  the  idea  of  the  good  ;  in  the  second,  in  consequence  of  this  idea, 
which,  as  determining  the  volition,  must  precede  it. 

[l80]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  1'51 

hand,  if  we  render  it  thus :  "  under  the  direction  of  reason  we 
desire  nothing  except  so  far  as  we  esteem  it  good  or  evil," 
it  is  indubitably  certain,  and  at  the  same  time  quite  clearly 

Well  or  ill  always  implies  only  a  reference  to  our  condition, 
as  pleasant  or  unpleasant,  as  one  of  pleasure  or  pain,  and  if  we 
desire  or  avoid  an  object  on  this  account,  it  is  only  so  far  as  it  is 
referred  to  our  sensibility  and  to  the  feeling  of  pleasure  or  pain 
that  it  produces.  But  good  or  evil  always  implies  a  reference  to 
the  will,  as  determined  by  the  law  of  reason  to  make  something 
its  object  (iso) ;  for  it  is  never  determined  directly  by  the  object 
and  the  idea  of  it,  but  is  a  faculty  of  taking  a  rule  of  reason 
for  the  motive  of  an  action  (by  which  an  object  may  be 
realised).  Good  and  evil,  therefore,  are  properly  referred  to 
actions,  not  to  the  sensations  of  the  person,  and  if  anything  is 
to  be  good  or  evil  absolutely  (i.e.  in  every  respect  and  without 
any  further  condition),  or  is  to  be  so  esteemed,  it  can  only  be 
the  manner  of  acting,  the  maxim  of  the  will,  and  consequently 
the  acting  person  himself  as  a  good  or  evil  man  that  can  be  so 
called,  and  not  a  thing. 

However,  then,  men  may  laugh  at  the  Stoic,  who  in  the 
severest  paroxysms  of  gout  cried  out :  Pain,  however  thou  tor- 
mentest  me,  I  will  never  admit  that  thou  art  an  evil  (KUKOV, 
malum)  :  he  was  right.  A  bad  thing  it  certainly  was,  and  his 
cry  betrayed  that ;  but  that  any  evil  attached  to  him  thereby, 
this  he  had  no  reason  whatever  to  admit,  for  pain  did  not  in 
the  least  diminish  the  worth  of  his  person,  but  only  that  of  his. 
condition.  If  he  had  been  conscious  of  a  single  lie,  it  would 

1  [The  English  language  marks  the  distinction  in  question,  though  not 
perfectly.  "  Evil  "  is  not  absolutely  restricted  to  moral  evil  ;  we  speak 
also  of  physical  evils  ;  but  certainly  when  not  so  qualified  it  applies  usually 
(as  an  adjective,  perhaps  exclusively)  to  moral  evil.  "Bad"  is  more 
general ;  but  when  used  with  a  word  connoting  moral  qualities,  it  expresses 
moral  evil  ;  for  example,  a  "bad  man,"  a  "  bad  scholar."  These  words 
are  etymologically  the  same  as  the  German  "libel"  and  "bdse"  respec 
tively.  "Good"  is  ambiguous,  being  opposed  to  "bad, "as  well  as  to 
"  evil,"  but  the  corresponding  German  word  is  equally  ambiguous.] 

152  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [l8l] 

have  lowered  his  pride,  but  pain  served  only  to  raise  it, 
when  he  was  conscious  that  he  had  not  deserved  it  by  any 
unrighteous  action  by  vhich  he  had  rendered  himself  worthy 
of  punishment. 

What  we  call  good  must  be  an  object  of  desire  in  the  judg 
ment  of  every  rational  man,  and  evil  an  object  of  aversion  in 
the  eyes  of  everyone ;  therefore,  in  addition  to  sense,  this 
judgment  requires  reason.  So  it  is  with  truthfulness,  as  op 
posed  to  lying ;  so  with  justice,  as  opposed  to  violence,  &c. 
But  we  may  call  a  thing  a  bad  [or  ill]  thing,  which  yet  every 
one  must  at  the  same  time  acknowledge  to  be  good,  sometimes 
directly,  sometimes  indirectly  (isi).  The  man  who  submits  to 
a  surgical  operation  feels  it  no  doubt  as  a  bad  [ill]  thing,  but 
by  their  reason  he  and  everyone  acknowledge  it  to  be  good. 
If  a  man  who  delights  in  annoying  and  vexing  peaceable 
people  at  last  receives  a  right  good  beating,  this  is  no  doubt  a 
bad  [ill]  thing ;  but  everyone  approves  it  and  regards  it  as  a 
good  thing,  even  though  nothing  else  resulted  from  it ;  nay, 
even  the  man  who  receives  it  must  in  his  reason  acknowledge 
that  he  has  met  justice,  because  he  sees  the  proportion  between 
good  conduct  and  good  fortune,  which  reason  inevitably  places 
before  him,  here  put  into  practice. 

No  doubt  our  weal  and  woe  are  of  very  great  importance  in 
the  estimation,  of  our  practical  reason,  and  as  far  as  our  nature 
as  sensible  beings  is  concerned,  our  Jiappincss  is  the  only  thing 
of  consequence,  provided  it  is  estimated  as  reason  especially 
requires,  not  by  the  transitory  sensation,  but  by  the  influence 
that  this  has  on  our  whole  existence,  and  on  our  satisfaction 
therewith  ;  but  it  is  not  absolutely  the  only  thing  of  consequence. 
Man  is  a  being  who,  as  belonging  to  the  world  of  sense,  has 
wants,  and  so  far  his  reason  has  an  office  which  it  cannot  re 
fuse,  namely,  to  attend  to  the  interest  of  his  sensible  nature, 
and  to  form  practical  maxims,  even  with  a  view  to  the  happi 
ness  of  this  life,  and  if  possible  even  to  that  of  a  future.  But 
he  is  not  so  completely  an  animal  as  to  be  indifferent  to  what 
reason  says  on  its  own  account,  and  to  use  it  merely  as  an 
instrument  for  the  satisfaction  of  his  wants  as  a  sensible  l>eing. 

[183]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  153 

For  the  possession  of  reason  would  not  raise  his  worth  above 
that  of  the  brutes,  if  it  is  to  serve  him  only  for  the  same  pur 
pose  that  instinct  serves  in  them  ;  it  would  in  that  case  be  only 
a  particular  method  which  nature  had  employed  to  equip  man 
for  the  same  ends  (i82)  for  which  it  has  qualified  brutes,  without 
qualifying  him  for  any  higher  purpose.  No  doubt  once  this 
arrangement  of  nature  has  been  made  for  him,  he  requires  reason 
in  order  to  take  into  consideration  his  weal  and  woe ;  but  besides 
this  he  possesses  it  for  a  higher  purpose  also,  namely,  not  only 
to  take  into  consideration  what  is  good  or  evil  in  itself,  about 
which  only  pure  reason,  uninfluenced  by  any  sensible  interest, 
can  judge,  but  also  to  distinguish  this  estimate  thoroughly  from 
the  former,  and  to  make  it  the  supreme  condition  thereof. 

In  estimating  what  is  good  or  evil  in  itself,  as  distinguished 
from  what  can  be  so  called  only  relatively,  the  following  points 
are  to  be  considered.  Either  a  rational  principle  is  already 
conceived  as  of  itself  the  determining  principle  of  the  will, 
without  regard  to  possible  objects  of  desire  (and  therefore  by 
the  mere  legislative  form  of  the  maxim),  and  in  that  case 
that  principle  is  a  practical  d  priori  law,  and  pure  reason  is 
supposed  to  be  practical  of  itself.  The  law  in  that  case  deter 
mines  the  will  directly ;  the  action  conformed  to  it  is  good  in 
itself ;  a  will  whose  maxim  always  conforms  to  this  law  is  good 
absolutely  in  every  respect,  and  is  the  supreme  condition  of  all  good. 
Or  the  maxim  of  the  will  is  consequent  on  a  determining  prin 
ciple  of  desire  which  presupposes  an  object  of  pleasure  or  pain, 
something  therefore  that  pleases  or  displeases ;  and  the  maxim  of 
reason  that  we  should  pursue  the  former  and  avoid  the  latter 
determines  our  actions  as  good  relatively  to  our  inclination, 
that  is,  good  indirectly  (i.e.  relatively  to  a  different  end  to 
which  they  are  means),  and  in  that  case  these  maxims  can 
never  be  called  laws,  but  may  be  called  rational  practical  pre 
cepts.  The  end  itself,  the  pleasure  that  we  seek,  is  in  the  latter 
case  not  a  good  but  a  welfare ;  not  a  concept  of  reason  (i83),  but 
an  empirical  concept  of  an  object  of  sensation  ;  but  the  use  of 
the  means  thereto,  that  is,  the  action,  is  nevertheless  called 
good  (because  rational  deliberation  is  required  for  it),  not, 

154  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [l84J 

however,  good  absolutely,  but  only  relatively  to  our  sensuous 
nature,  with  regard  to  its  feelings  of  pleasure  and  displeasure ; 
but  the  will  whose  maxim  is  affected  thereby  is  not  a  pure  will ; 
this  is  directed  only  to  that  in  which  pure  reason  by  itself  can 
be  practical. 

This  is  the  proper  place  to  explain  the  paradox  of  method 
in  a  critique  of  Practical  Reason,  namely,  tJiat  the  concept  of 
good  and  evil  must  not  be  determined  before  the  moral  law  (of  which 
it  seems  as  if  it  must  be  the  foundation),  but  only  after  it  and  Inj 
means  of  it.  In  fact,  even  if  we  did  not  know  that  the  principle 
of  morality  is  a  pure  a  priori  law  determining  the  will,  yet, 
that  we  may  not  assume  principles  quite  gratuitously,  we  must, 
at  least  at  first,  leave  it  undecided,  whether  the  will  has  merely 
empirical  principles  of  determination,  or  whether  it  has  not  also 
pure  d  priori  principles  ;  for  it  ib  contrary  to  all  rules  of  philo 
sophical  method  to  assume  as  decided  that  which  is  the  very 
point  in  question.  Supposing  that  we  wished  to  begin  with  the 
concept  of  good,  in  order  to  deduce  from  it  the  laws  of  the  will, 
then  this  concept  of  an  object  (as  a  good)  would  at  the  same 
time  assign  to  us  this  object  as  the  sole  determining  principle 
of  the  will.  Now,  since  this  concept  had  not  any  practical  a 
priori  law  for  its  standard,  the  criterion  of  good  or  evil  could 
not  be  placed  in  anything  but  the  agreement  of  the  object  with 
our  feeling  of  pleasure  or  pain ;  and  the  use  of  reason  could 
only  consist  in  determining  in  the  first  place  this  pleasure  or 
pain  in  connexion  with  all  the  sensations  of  my  existence,  and 
in  the  second  place  the  means  of  securing  to  myself  the  object 
of  the  pleasure  (is-t).  Now,  as  experience  alone  can  decide  what 
conforms  to  the  feeling  of  pleasure,  and  by  hypothesis  the  prac 
tical  law  is  to  be  based  on  this  as  a  condition,  it  follows  that 
the  possibility  of  d  priori  practical  laws  would  be  at  once  ex 
cluded,  because  it  was  imagined  to  be  necessary  first  of  all  to 
find  an  object  the  concept  of  which,  as  a  good,  should  constitute 
the  universal  though  empirical  principle  of  determination  of  the 
will.  But  what  it  was  necessary  to  inquire  first  of  all  was 
whether  there  is  not  an  d  priori  determining  principle  of  the 
will  (and  this  could  never  be  found  anywhere  but  in  a  pure 

[185]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  155 

practical  law,  in  so  far  as  this-  law  prescribes  to  maxims  merely 
their  form  without  regard  to  an  object).  Since,  however,  we 
laid  the  foundation  of  all  practical  law  in  an  object  determined 
by  our  conceptions  of  good  and  evil,  whereas  without  a  previous 
law  that  object  could  only  be  conceived  by  empirical  concepts, 
we  have  deprived  ourselves  beforehand  of  the  possibility  of  even 
conceiving  a  pure  practical  law.  On  the  other  hand,  if  we  had 
first  investigated  the  latter  analytically,  we  should  have  found 
that  it  is  not  the  concept  of  good  as  an  object  that  determines 
the  moral  law,  and  makes  it  possible,  but  that,  on  the  contrary, 
it  is  the  moral  law  that  first  determines  the  concept  of  good,, 
and  makes  it  possible,  so  far  as  it  deserves  the  name  of  good 

This  remark,  which  only  concerns  the  method  of  ultimate 
Ethical  inquiries,  is  of  importance.  It  explains  at  once  the 
occasion  of  all  the  mistakes  of  philosophers  with  respect  to  the 
supreme  principle  of  morals.  For  they  sought  for  an  object  of 
the  will  which  they  could  make  the  matter  and  principle  of  a 
law  (which  consequently  could  not  determine  the  will  directly 
but  by  means  of  that  object  referred  to  the  feeling  of  pleasure 
or  pain)  (iss) ;  whereas  they  ought  first  to  have  searched  for  a 
law  that  would  determine  the  will  a, priori  and  directly,  and 
afterwards  determine  the  object  in  accordance  with  the  will. 
Now,  whether  they  placed  this  object  of  pleasure,  which  was 
to  supply  the  supreme  conception  of  goodness,  in  happiness,  in 
perfection,  in  moral  [feeling1],  or  in  the  will  of  God,  their 
principle  in  every  case  implied  heteronomy,  and  they  must 
inevitably  come  upon  empirical  conditions  of  moral  law,  since 
their  object,  which  was  to  be  the  immediate  principle  of  the 
will,  could  not  be  called  good  or  bad  except  in  its  immediate 
relation  to  feeling,  which  is  always  empirical.  It  is  only  a 
formal  law — that  is,  one  which  prescribes  to.  reason  nothing 
more  than  the  form  of  its  universal  legislation  as  the  supreme 
condition  of  its  maxims — that  can  be  d  priori  a  determining 

1  [Rosenkranz1  text  has  "law" — certainly  an  error  ("Gesetz"  for 
"Oefuhl");  Hartenstein  corrects  it.] 

156  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [l86] 

principle  of  practical  reason.  The  ancients  avowed  this  error 
without  concealment  by  directing  all  their  moral  inquiries  to 
the  determination  of  the  notion  of  the  summum  bonum,  which 
they  intended  afterwards  to  make  the  determining  principle  of 
the  will  in  the  moral  law ;  whereas  it  is  only  far  later,  when 
the  moral  law  has  been  first  established  for  itself,  and  shown 
to  be  the  direct  determining  principle  of  the  will,  that  this 
object  can  be  presented  to  the  will,  whose  form  is  now  deter 
mined  d  priori ;  and  this  we  shall  undertake  in  the  Dialectic 
of  the  pure  practical  reason.  The  moderns,  with  whom  the 
question  of  the  summum  bonum  has  gone  out  of  fashion,  or  at 
least  seems  to  have  become  a  secondary  matter,  hide  the  same 
error  under  vague  (expressions  as  in  many  other  cases).  It 
shows  itself,  nevertheless,  in  their  systems,  as  it  always  pro 
duces  heteronomy  of  practical  reason  ;  and  from  this  can  never 
be  derived  a  moral  law  giving  universal  commands. 

(ise)  Now,  since  the  notions  of  good  and  evil,  as  conse 
quences  of  the  d  priori  determination  of  the  will,  imply  also 
a  pure  practical  principle,  and  therefore  a  causality  of  pure 
reason ;  hence  they  do  not  originally  refer  to  objects  (so  as  to 
be,  for  instance,  special  modes  of  the  synthetic  unity  of  the 
manifold  of  given  intuitions  in  one  consciousness1)  like  the 
pure  concepts  of  the  understanding  or  categories  of  reason  in 
its  theoretic  employment;  on  the  contrary,  they  presuppose 
that  objects  are  given  ;  but  they  are  all  modes  (modi)  of  a 
single  category,  namely,  that  of  causality,  the  determining 
principle  of  which  consists  in  the  rational  conception  of  a  law, 
which  as  a  law  of  freedom  reason  gives  to  itself,  thereby  d 
priori  proving  itself  practical.  However,  as  the  actions  on  the 
one  side  come  under  a  law  which  is  not  a  physical  law,  but 
a  law  of  freedom,  and  consequently  belong  to  the  conduct  of 
beings  in  the  world  of  intelligence,  yet  on  the  other  side  as 
events  in  the  world  of  sense  they  belong  to  phenomena  ;  hence 
the  determinations  of  a  practical  reason  are  only  possible  in 

1  [For  the  meaning  of  this  expression,  see  the  Critique  of  Pure  Reason, 
trans,  by  Meiklejohn,  p.  82.] 

[187]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  157 

reference  to  the  latter,  and  therefore  in  accordance  with  the 
categories  of  the  understanding ;  not  indeed  with  a  view  to  any 
theoretic  employment  of  it,  i.e.  so  as  to  bring  the  manifold  of 
(sensible)  intuition  under  one  consciousness  a  priori ;  but  only 
to  subject  the  manifold  of  desires  to  the  unity  of  consciousness 
of  a  practical  reason,  giving  it  commands  in  the  moral  law,  i.e. 
to  a  pure  will  a  priori. 

These  categories  of  freedom — for  so  we  choose  to  call  them 
in  contrast  to  those  theoretic  categories  which  are  categories  of 
physical  nature — have  an  obvious  advantage  over  the  latter, 
inasmuch  as  the  latter  are  only  forms  of  thought  which  desig 
nate  objects  in  an  indefinite  manner  by  means  of  universal 
concepts  for  every  possible  intuition ;  the  former,  on  the  con 
trary,  refer  to  the  determination  of  a  free  elective  will  (to  which 
indeed  no  exactly  corresponding  intuition  can  be  assigned  (187;, 
but  which  has  as  its  foundation  a  pure  practical  d  priori  law, 
which  is  not  the    case  with  any  concepts    belonging  to  the 
theoretic  use  of  our  cognitive  faculties) ;  hence,  instead  of  the 
form  of  intuition  (space  and  time),  which  does  not  lie  in  reason 
itself,  but  has  to  be  drawn  from  another  source,  namely,  the 
sensibility,  these  being  elementary  practical  concepts  have  as 
their  foundation  the/orm  of  a  pure  will,  which  is   given  in 
reason,  and  therefore  in  the  thinking  faculty  itself.   From  this  it 
happens  that  as  all  precepts  of  pure  practical  reason  have  to  do 
only  with  the  determination  of  the  will,  not  with  the  physical 
conditions  (of  practical  ability)  of  the  execution  of  one's  purpose, 
the  practical  a  priori  principles  in  relation  to  the  supreme 
principle  of  freedom  are  at  once  cognitions,  and  have  not  to  wait 
for  intuitions  in  order  to  acquire  significance,  and  that  for  this 
remarkable  reason,  because  they  themselves  produce  the  reality 
of  that  to  which  they  refer  (the  intention  of  the  will),  which 
is  not  the  case  with  theoretical  concepts.     Only  we  must  be 
careful  to  observe  that   these   categories   only  apply  to  the 
practical  reason ;  and  thus  they  proceed  in  order  from  those 
which  are  as  yet  subject  to  sensible  conditions  and  morally 
indeterminate  to  those  which  are  free  from  sensible  conditions, 
and  determined  merely  by  the  moral  law. 

158  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [l89] 

(iss)    Table  of  the  Categories  of  Freedom  relatively  to  the 
Notions  of  Good  and  Evil. 


Subjective,  according  to  maxims  (practical  opinions  of  the  individual). 

Objective,  according  to  principles  (precepts). 

A  priori,  both  objective  and  subjective  principles  of  freedom  (laics). 


Practical  rules  of  action  (praceptiwv). 
Practical  rules  of  omission  (prohibitive). 
Practical  rules  of  exception  (exceptivce). 


To  personality. 

To  the  condition  of  the  person. 

Reciprocal,  of  one  person  to  the  condition  of  the  others. 


The  permitted  and  the  forbidden. 
Duty  and  the  contrary  to  duty. 
Perfect  and  imperfect  ditty. 

(139)  It  will  at  once  be  observed  that  in  this  table  freedom 
is  considered  as  a  sort  of  causality  not  subject  to  empirical  prin 
ciples  of  determination,  in  regard  to  actions  possible  by  it,  which 
are  phenomena  in  the  world  of  sense,  and  that  consequently  it 
is  referred  to  the  categories  which  concern  its  physical  possi 
bility,  whilst  yet  each  category  is  taken  so  universally  that  the 
determining  principle  of  that  causality  can  be  placed  outside  the 
world  of  sense  in  freedom  as  a  property  of  a  being  in  the  world 
of  intelligence  ;  and  finally  the  categories  of  modality  introduce 
the  transition  from  practical  principles  generally  to  those  of 
morality,  but  only  problematically.  These  can  be  established 
dogmatically  only  by  the  moral  law. 

I  add  nothing  further  here  in  explanation  of  the  present 
table,  since  it  is  intelligible  enough  of  itself.  A  division  of  this 
kind  based  on  principles  is  very  useful  in  any  science,  both  for 
the  sake  of  thoroughness  and  intelligibility.  Thus,  for  instance, 
we  know  from  the  preceding  table  and  its  first  number  what 

[l9o]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  159 

we  must  begin  from  in  practical  inquiries,  namely,  from  the 
maxims  which  everyone  founds  on  his  own  inclinations ;  the 
precepts  which  hold  for  a  species  of  rational  beings  so  far  as 
they  agree  in  certain  inclinations;  and  finally  the  law  which 
holds  for  all  without  regard  to  their  inclinations,  &c.  In  this 
way  we  survey  the  whole  plan  of  what  has  to  be  done,  every 
question  of  practical  philosophy  that  has  to  be  answered,  and 
also  the  order  that  is  to  be  followed. 

Of  the  Typic  of  the  Pure  Practical  Judgment. 

It  is  the  notions  of  good  and  evil  that  first  determine  an 
object  of  the  will.  They  themselves,  however,  (190)  are  subject 
to  a  practical  rule  of  reason,  which,  if  it  is  pure  reason,  deter 
mines  the  will  a  priori  relatively  to  its  object.  Now,  whether 
an  action  which  is  possible  to  us  in  the  world  of  sense  comes 
under  the  rule  or  not,  is  a  question  to  be  decided  by  the  prac 
tical  Judgment,  by  which  what  is  said  in  the  rule  universally 
(in  abstracto}  is  applied  to  an  action  in  concreto.  But  since  a 
practical  rule  of  pure  reason  in  the  first  place  as  practical  con 
cerns  the  existence  of  an  object,  and  in  the  second  place  as  a 
practical  rule  of  pure  reason  implies  necessity  as  regards  the 
existence  of  the  action,  and  therefore  is  a  practical  law,  not  a 
physical  law  depending  on  empirical  principles  of  determination, 
but  a  law  of  freedom  by  which  the  will  is  to  be  determined 
independently  on  anything  empirical  (merely  by  the  conception 
of  a  law  and  its  form),  whereas  all  instances  that  can  occur  of 
possible  actions  can  only  be  empirical,  that  is,  belong  to  the 
experience  of  physical  nature  ;  hence,  it  seems  absurd  to  expect 
to  find  in  the  world  of  sense  a  case  which,  while  as  such  it 
depends  only  on  the  law  of  nature,  yet  admits  of  the  application 
to  it  of  a  law  of  freedom,  and  to  which  we  can  apply  the  super 
sensible  idea  of  the  morally  good  which  is  to  be  exhibited  in  it 
7?i  concreto.  Thus,  the  Judgment  of  the  pure  practical  reason  is 
subject  to  the  same  difficulties  as  that  of  the  pure  theoretical 
reason.  The  latter,  however,  had  means  at  hand  of  escaping 
from  these  difficulties,  because,  in  regard  to  the  theoretical 

160  THE  ANALYTIC   OF  [l9l] 

employment,  intuitions  were  required  to  which  pure  concepts 
of  the  understanding  could  be  applied,  and  such  intuitions 
(though  only  of  objects  of  the  senses)  can  be  given  d  priori, 
and  therefore,  as  far  as  regards  the  union  of  the  manifold  in 
them,  conforming  to  the  pure  d  priori  concepts  of  the  under 
standing  as  schemata.  On  the  other  hand,  the  morally  good  is 
something  whose  object  is  supersensible ;  for  which,  therefore, 
nothing  corresponding  can  be  found  in  any  sensible  intuition  (i9i). 
Judgment  depending  on  laws  of  pure  practical  reason  seems, 
therefore,  to  be  subject  to  special  difficulties  arising  from  this, 
that  a  law  of  freedom  is  to  be  applied  to  actions,  which  are 
events  taking  place  in  the  world  of  sense,  and  which,  so  far, 
belong  to  physical  nature. 

But  here  again  is  opened  a  favourable  prospect  for  the  pure 
practical  Judgment.  When  I  subsume  under  a  pure  practical 
law  an  action  possible  to  me  in  the  world  of  sense,  I  am  not 
concerned  with  the  possibility  of  the  action  as  an  event  in  the 
world  of  sense.  This  is  a  matter  that  belongs  to  the  decision 
of  reason  in  its  theoretic  use  according  to  the  law  of  causality, 
which  is  a  pure  concept  of  the  understanding,  for  which  reason 
has  a  schenui  in  the  sensible  intuition.  Physical  causality,  or 
the  condition  under  which  it  takes  place,  belongs  to  the  physi 
cal  concepts,  the  schema  of  which  is  sketched  by  transcendental 
imagination.  Here,  however,  we  have  to  do,  not  with  the 
schema  of  a  case  that  occurs  according  to  laws,  but  with  the 
schema  of  a  law  itself  (if  the  word  is  allowable  here),  since 
the  fact  that  the  will  (not  the  action  relatively  to  its  effect)  is 
determined  by  the  law  alone  without  any  other  principle,  con 
nects  the  notion  of  causality  with  quite  different  conditions 
from  those  which  constitute  physical  connexion. 

The  physical  law  being  a  law  to  which  the  objects  of  sen 
sible  intuition,  as  such,  are  subject,  must  have  a  schema  corre 
sponding  to  it — that  is,  a  general  procedure  of  the  imagination 
(by  which  it  exhibits  d  priori  to  the  senses  the  pure  concept  of 
the  understanding  which  the  law  determines).  But  the  law  of 
freedom  (that  is,  of  a  causality  not  subject  to  sensible  condi 
tions),  and  consequently  the  concept  of  the  unconditionally 

[193]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  161 

good,  cannot  have  any  intuition,  nor  consequently  any  schema 
supplied  to  it  for  the  purpose  of  its  application  in  concrcto. 
Consequently  the  moral  law  has  no  faculty  (192)  but  the  under 
standing  to  aid  its  application  to  physical  objects  (not  the 
imagination) ;  and  the  understanding  for  the  purposes  of  the 
judgment  can  provide  for  an  idea  of  the  reason,  not  a  schema 
of  the  sensibility,  but  a  law,  though  only  as  to  its  form  as  law ; 
such  a  law,  however,  as  can  be  exhibited  in  concrcto  in  objects 
of  the  senses,  and,  therefore  a  law  of  nature.  We  can  therefore 
call  this  law  the  Type  of  the  moral  law. 

The  rule  of  the  judgment  according  to  laws  of  pure  prac 
tical  reason  is  this :  ask  yourself  whether,  if  the  action  you 
propose  were  to  take  place  by  a  law  of. the  system  of  nature  of 
which  you  were  yourself  a  part,  you  could  regard  it  as  possible 
by  your  own  will.  Everyone  does,  in  fact,  decide  by  this  rule 
whether  actions  are  morally  good  or  evil.  Thus,  people  say : 
If  everyone  permitted  himself  to  deceive,  when  he  thought  it  to 
his  advantage ;  or  thought  himself  justified  in  shortening  his 
life  as  soon  as  he  was  thoroughly  weary  of  it ;  or  looked  with 
perfect  indifference  on  the  necessity  of  others ;  and  if  you 
belonged  to  such  an  order  of  things,  would  you  do  so  with 
the  assent  of  your  own  will  ?  Now  everyone  knows  well  that 
if  he  secretly  allows  himself  to  deceive,  it  does  not  follow  that 
everyone  else  does  so  ;  or  if,  unobserved,  he  is  destitute  of  com 
passion,  others  would  not  necessarily  be  so  to  him ;  hence,  this 
comparison  of  the  maxim  of  his  actions  with  a  universal  law  of 
nature  is  not  the  determining  principle  of  his  will.  Such  a  law 
is,  nevertheless,  a  type  of  the  estimation  of  the  maxim  on  moral 
principles.  If  the  maxim  of  the  action  is  not  such  as  to  stand 
the  test  of  the  form  of  a  universal  law  of  nature,  then  it  is 
morally  impossible.  This  is  the  judgment  even  of  common 
sense ;  for  its  ordinary  judgments,  even  those  of  experience, 
are  always  based  on  the  law  of  nature.  It  has  it,  therefore, 
always  at  hand,  only  that  in  cases  (193)  where  causality  from 
freedom  is  to  be  criticized,  it  makes  that  law  of  nature  only  the 
type  of  a  law  of  freedom,  because  without  something  which  it 
could  use  as  an  example  in  a  case  of  experience,  it  could  not 


1-62  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [194] 

give  the  law  of  a  pure  practical  reason  its  proper  use  in 

It  is  therefore  allowable  to  use  the  system  of  the  world  of 
sense  as  the  type  of  a  supersensible  system  of  things,  provided  I 
do  not  transfer  to  the  latter  the  intuitions,  and  what  depends 
on  them,  but  merely  apply  to  it  the  form  of  law  in  general  (the 
notion  of  which  occurs  even  in  the  [commonest]1  use  of  reason, 
but  cannot  be  definitely  known  d  priori  for  any  other  purpose 
than  the  pure  practical  use  of  reason)  ;  for  laws,  as  such,  are 
so  far  identical,  no  matter  from  what  they  derive  their  deter 
mining  principles. 

Further,  since  of  all  the  supersensible  absolutely  nothing 
[is  known]  except  freedom  (through  the  moral  law),  and  this 
only  so  far  as  it  is  inseparably  implied  in  that  law,  and  more 
over  all  supersensible  objects  to  which  reason  might  lead  us, 
following  the  guidance  of  that  law,  have  still  no  reality  for  us, 
except  for  the  purpose  of  that  law,  and  for  the  use  of  mere 
practical  reason  ;  and  as  reason  is  authorized  and  even  com 
pelled  to  use  physical  nature  (in  its  pure  form  us  an  object 
of  the  understanding)  as  the  type  of  the  judgment ;  hence, 
the  present  remark  will  serve  to  guard  against  reckoning 
amongst  concepts  themselves  that  which  belongs  only  to  the 
typic  of  concepts.  This,  namely,  as  a  typic  of  the  judgment, 
guards  against  the  empiricism  of  practical  reason,  which  founds 
the  practical  notions  of  good  and  evil  merely  on  experienced 
consequences  (so-called  happiness).  No  doubt  happiness  and 
the  infinite  advantages  which  would  result  from  a  will  deter 
mined  by  self-love,  if  this  will  at  the  same  time  erected  itself 
into  a  universal  law  of  nature  (194),  may  certainly  serve  as  a 
perfectly  suitable  type  for  the  morally  good,  but  it  is  not  iden- 
tical  with  it.  The  same  typic  guards  also  against  the  mysticism 
of  practical  reason,  which  turns  what  served  only  as  a  symbol 
into  a  schema,  that  is.  proposes  to  provide  for  the  moral  concepts 
actual  intuitions,  which,  however,  are  not  sensible  fin  tuitions  of 

'[Adopting  Hartenstein's  conjecture  "gemeinste,"  for  ''reinste," 
"  purest."] 

[194]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  163 

an  invisible  Kingdom  of  God),  and  thus  plunges  into  the  tran 
scendent.  What  is  befitting  the  use  of  the  moral  concepts  is  only 
the  rationalism  of  the  judgment,  which  takes  from  the  sensible 
system  of  nature  only  what  pure  reason  can  also  conceive  of 
itself,  that  is,  conformity  to  law,  and  transfers  into  the  super 
sensible  nothing  but  what  can  conversely  be  actually  exhibited 
by  actions  in  the  world  of  sense  according  to  the  formal  rule  of 
a  law  of  nature.  However,  the  caution  against  empiricism  of 
practical  reason  is  much  more  important ;  for1  mysticism  is 
quite  reconcilable  with  the  purity  and  sublimity  of  the  mbral 
law,  and,  besides,  it  is  not  very  natural  or  agreeable  to  common 
habits  of  thought  to  strain  one's  imagination  to  supersensible 
intuitions ;  and  hence  the  danger  on  this  side  is  not  so  general. 
Empiricism,  on  the  contrary,  cuts  up  at  the  roots  the  morality 
of  intentions  (in  which,  and  not  in  actions  only,  consists  the 
high  worth  that  men  can  and  ought  to  give  to  themselves),  and 
substitutes  for  duty  something  quite  different,  namely,  an 
empirical  interest,  with  which  the  inclinations  generally  are 
secretly  leagued ;  and  empiricism,  moreover,  being  on  this 
account  allied  with  all  the  inclinations  which  (no  matter  what 
fashion  they  put  on)  degrade  humanity  when  they  are  raised 
to  the  dignity  of  a  supreme  practical  principle ;  and  as  these, 
nevertheless,  are  so  favourable  to  everyone's  feelings,  it  is 
for  that  reason  much  more  dangerous  than  mysticism,  which 
can  never  constitute  a  lasting  condition  of  any  great  number 
of  persons. 

['  Read  "well"  with  Hartenstein,  not  ''womit."] 

M   1 

164  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [l96] 

(195)  CHAPTER  III. 


WHAT  is  essential  in  the  moral  worth  of  actions  is  that  the 
moral  law  should  directly  determine  the  will.  If  the  deter 
mination  of  the  will  takes  place  in  conformity  indeed  to  the 
moral  law,  but  only  by  means  of  a  feeling,  no  matter  of  what 
kind,  which  has  to  be  presupposed  in  order  that  the  law  may  be 
sufficient  to  determine  the  will,  and  therefore  not  for  the  sake 
of  the  la  w,  then  the  action  will  possess  legality  but  not  morality. 
Xow,  if  we  understand  by  motive  [or  spring]  (elater  animi)  the 
subjective  ground  of  determination  of  the  will  of  a  being 
whose  reason  does  not  necessarily  conform  to  the  objective 
law,  by  virtue  of  its  own  nature,  then  it  will  follow,  first,  that 
no  motives  can  be  attributed  to  the  Divine  will,  and  that  the 
motives  of  the  human  will  (as  well  as  that  of  every  created 
rational  being)  can  never  be  anything  else  than  the  moral  law, 
and  consequently  that  the  objective  principle  of  determination 
must  always  and  alone  be  also  the  subjectively  sufficient 
determining  principle  of  the  action  (IOG),  if  this  is  not  merely 
to  fulfil  the  letter  of  the  law,  without  containing  its  spirit.1 

Since,  then,  for  the  purpose  of  giving  the  moral  law  in 
fluence  over  the  will,  we  must  not  seek  for  any  other  motives 
that  might  enable  us  to  dispense  with  the  motive  of  the  law 
itself,  because  that  would  produce  mere  hypocrisy,  without 
consistency ;  and  it  is  even  dangerous  to  allow  other  motives 
(for  instance,  that  of  interest)  even  to  co-operate  along  with  the 
moral  law ;  hence  nothing  is  left  us  but  to  determine  carefully 

1  We  may  say  of  every  action  that  conforms  to  the  law,  hut  is  not  done 
for  the  sake  of  the  law,  that  it  is  morally  good  in  the  letter,  not  in  the 
spirit  (the  intention). 

'[197]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  165 

in  what  way  the  moral  law  becomes  a  motive,  and  what  effect 
this  has  upon  the  faculty  of  desire.  For  as  to  the  question  how 
a  law  can  be  directly  and  of  itself  a  determining  principle  of 
the  will  (which  is  the  essence  of  morality),  this  is,  for  human 
reason,  an  insoluble  problem  and  identical  with  the  question : 
how  a  free  will  is  possible.  Therefore  what  we  have  to  show 
a  priori  is,  not  why  the  moral  law  in  itself  supplies  a  motive, 
but  what  effect  it,  as  such,  produces  (or,  more  correctly  speaking, 
must  produce)  on  the  mind. 

The  essential  point  in  every  determination  of  the  will  by 
the  moral  law,  is  that  being  a  free  will  it  is  determined  simply 
by  the  moral  law,  not  only  without  the  co-operation  of  sensible 
impulses,  but  even  to  the  rejection  of  all  such,  and  to  the 
checking  of  all  inclinations  so  far  as  they  might  be  opposed  to 
that  law.  So  far,  then,  the  effect  of  the  moral  law  as  a  motive 
is  only  negative,  and  this  motive  can  be  known  a  priori  to  be 
such.  For  all  inclination  and  every  sensible  impulse  is  founded 
on  feeling,  and  the  negative  effect  (197)  produced  on  feeling  (by 
the  check  on  the  inclinations)  is  itself  feeling ;  consequently, 
we  can  see  d  priori  that  the  moral  law,  as  a  determining  prin 
ciple  of  the  will,  must  by  thwarting  all  our  inclinations  produce 
a  feeling  which  may  be  called  pain ;  and  in  this  we  have  the 
first,  perhaps  the  only,  instance  in  which  we  are  able  from 
d  priori  considerations  to  determine  the  relation  of  a  cognition 
(in  this  case  of  pure  practical  reason)  to  the  feeling  of  pleasure 
or  displeasure.  All  the  inclinations  together  (which  can  be 
reduced  to  a  tolerable  system,  in  which  case  their  satisfaction 
is  called  happiness)  constitute  self -regard  (solipsismus}.  This  is 
either  the  self-love  that  consists  in  an  excessive  fondness  for 
oneself  (philautia),  or  satisfaction  with  oneself  (arrogantia). 
The  former  is  called  particularly  selfishness  ;  the  latter  self- 
conceit.  Pure  practical  reason  only  checks  selfishness,  looking 
on  it  as  natural  and  active  in  us  even  prior  to  the  moral  law,  so 
far  as  to  limit  it  to  the  condition  of  agreement  with  this  law, 
and  then  it  is  called  rational  self-love.  But  self-conceit  reason 
strikes  down  altogether,  since  all  claims  to  self-esteem  which 
precede  agreement  with  the  moral  law  are  vain  and  unjustifiable, 

16G  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [l98J 

for  the  certainty  of  a  state  of  mind  that  coincides  with  this  law 
is  the  first  condition  of  personal  worth  (as  we  shall  presently 
show  more  clearly),  and  prior  to  this  conformity  any  pretension 
to  worth  is  false  and  unlawful.  Now  the  propensity  to  self- 
esteem  is  one  of  the  inclinations  which  the  moral  law  checks, 
inasmuch  as  that  esteem  rests  only  on  morality.  Therefore 
the  moral  law  breaks  down  self-conceit.  But  as  this  law  is 
something  positive  in  itself,  namely,  the  form  of  an  intellectual 
causality,  that  is,  of  freedom,  it  must  be  an  object  of  respect ', 
for  by  opposing  the  subjective  antagonism  of  the  inclinations 
(198)  it  weakens  self-conceit ;  and  since  it  even  breaks  down, 
that  is,  humiliates  this  conceit,  it  is  an  object  of  the  highest 
respect,  and  consequently  is  the  foundation  of  a  positive  feeling 
which  is  not  of  empirical  origin,  but  is  known  a  priori.  There 
fore  respect  for  the  moral  law  is  a  feeling  which  is  produced 
by  an  intellectual  cause,  and  this  feeling  is  the  only  one  that 
we  know  quite  d  priori,  and  the  necessity  of  which  we  can 

In  the  preceding  chapter  we  have  seen  that  everything  that 
presents  itself  as  an  object  of  the  will  prior  to  the  moral  law  is 
by  that  law  itself,  which  is  the  supreme  condition  of  practical 
reason,  excluded  from  the  determining  principles  of  the  will 
which  we  have  called  the  unconditionally  good ;  and  that  the 
mere  practical  form  which  consists  in  the  adaptation  of  the 
maxims  to  universal  legislation  first  determines  what  is  good  in 
itself  and  absolutely,  and  is  the  basis  of  the  maxims  of  a  pure 
will,  which  alone  is  good  in  every  respect.  However,  we  find 
that  our  nature  as  sensible  beings  is  such  that  the  matter  of 
desire  (objects  of  inclination,  whether  of  hope  or  fear)  first 
presents  itself  to  us  ;  and  our  pathologically  affected  self, 
although  it  is  in  its  maxims  quite  unfit  for  universal  legislation, 
yet,  just  as  if  it  constituted  our  entire  self,  strives  to  put  its 
pretensions  forward  first,  and  to  have  them  acknowledged  as  the 
first  and  original.  This  propensity  to  make  ourselves  in  the 
subjective  determining  principles  of  our  choice  serve  as  the 
objective  determining  principle  of  the  will  generally  may  be 
called  self-love ;  and  if  this  pretends  to  be  legislative  as  an 

[200]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  167 

unconditional  practical  principle,  it  may  be  called  self-conceit. 
Now  the  moral  law,  which  alone  is  truly  objective  (namely,  in 
every  respect),  entirely  excludes  the  influence  of  self-love  on 
the  supreme  practical  principle,  and  indefinitely  checks  the  self- 
conceit  that  prescribes  the  subjective  conditions  of  the  former 
as  laws  (199).  Now  whatever  checks  our  self-conceit  in  our 
own  judgment  humiliates ;  therefore  the  moral  law  inevitably 
humbles  every  man  when  he  compares  with  it  the  physical 
propensities  of  his  nature.  That,  the  idea  of  which  as  a  deter 
mining  prfa&iplc  of  oitr  will  humbles  us  in  our  self -consciousness, 
awakes  respect  for  itself,  so  far  as  it  is  itself  positive,  and  a 
determining  principle.  Therefore  the  moral  law  is  even  sub 
jectively  a  cause  of  respect.  Now  since  everything  that  enters 
into  self-love  belongs  to  inclination,  and  all  inclination  rests 
on  feelings,  and  consequently  whatever  checks  all  the  feelings 
together  in  self-love  has  necessarily,  by^  this  very  circumstance, 
an  influence  on  feeling ;  hence  we  comprehend  how  it  is  pos 
sible  to  perceive  a  priori  that  the  moral  can  produce  an 
effect  on  feeling,  in  that  it  excludes  the  inclinations  and  the 
propensity  to  make  them  the  supreme  practical  condition,  i.e. 
self-love,  from  all  participation  in  the  supreme  legislation. 
This  effect  is  on  one  side  merely  negative,  but  on  the  other  side, 
relatively  to  the  restricting  principle  of  pure  practical  reason,  it 
is  positive.  No  special  kind  of  feeling  need  be  assumed  for  this 
under  the  name  of  a  practical  or  moral  feeling  as  antecedent  to 
the  moral  law,  and  serving  as  its  foundation. 

The  negative  effect  on  feeling  (unpleasantness)  is  patho 
logical,  like  every  influence  on  feeling,  and  like  every  feeling 
generally.  But  as  an  effect  of  the  consciousness  of  the  moral 
law,  and  consequently  in  relation  to  a  supersensible  cause, 
namely,  the  subject  gf  pure  practical  reason  which  is  the 
supreme  lawgiver,  this  feeling  of  a  rational  being  affected  by 
inclinations  is  called  humiliation  (intellectual  self-depreciation) ; 
but  with  reference  to  the  positive  source  of  this  humiliation,  the 
law,  it  is  respect  for  it.  There  is  indeed  no  feeling  for  this 
law  (200) ;  but  inasmuch  as  it  removes  the  resistance  out  of  the 
way,  this  removal  of  an  obstacle  is,  in  the  judgment  of  reason, 

1GS  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  ['20l] 

esteemed  equivalent  to  a  positive  help  to  its  causality.  There 
fore  this  feeling  may  also  be  called  a  feeling  of  respect  for  the 
moral  law,  and  for  both  reasons  together  a  moral  feeling. 

While  the  moral  law,  therefore,  is  a  formal  determining 
principle  of  action  by  practical  pure  reason,  and  is  moreover  a 
material  though  only  objective   determining  principle  of  the 
objects  of  action  as  called  good  and  evil,  it  is  also  a  subjective 
determining  principle,  that  is,  a  motive  to  this  action,  inasmuch 
as  it  has  influence  on  the  morality  of  the  subject,  and  produces 
a  , feeling  conducive  to  the  influence  of  the  law  on  the  will. 
There  is  here  in  the  subject  no  antecedent  feeling  tending  to 
morality.    For  this  is  impossible,  since  every  feeling  is  sensible, 
and  the  motive  of  moral  intention  must  be  free  from  all  sensible 
conditions.    On  the  contrary,  while  the  sensible  feeling  which  is 
at  the  bottom  of  all  our  inclinations  is  the  condition  of  that 
impression  which  we  call  respect,  the  cause  that  determines  it 
lies  in  the  pure  practical  reason  ;  and  this  impression  therefore, 
on  account  of  its  origin,  must  be  called,  not  a  pathological  but 
a  practical  effect.     For  by  the  fact  that  the  conception  of  the 
moral  law  deprives  self-love  of  its  influence,  and  self-conceit  of 
its  illusion,  it  lessens  the  obstacle  to  pure  practical  reason,  and 
produces  the  conception  of  the  superiority  of  its  objective  law 
to  the  impulses  of  the  sensibility ;  and  thus,  by  removing  the 
counterpoise,  it  gives  relatively  greater  weight  to  the  law  in  the 
judgment  of  reason  (in  the  case  of  a  will  affected  by  the  afore 
said  impulses).     Thus  the  respect  for  the  law  is  not  a  motive 
to  morality,  but  is  morality  itself  subjectively  considered  as  a 
motive,  inasmuch  as  pure  practical  reason  (201),  by  rejecting  all 
the  rival  pretensions  of  self-love,  gives  authority  to  the  law 
which  now  alone  has  influence.     Now  it  is  to  be  observed  that 
as  respect  is  an  effect  on  feeling,  and  therefore  on  the  sensi 
bility,  of  a  rational  being,  it  presupposes  this  sensibility,  and 
therefore  also  the  finiteness  of  such  beings  on  whom  the  moral 
law  imposes  respect ;  and  that  respect  for  the  law  cannot  be 
attributed  to  a  supreme  being,  or  to  any  being  free  from  all 
sensibility,  in  whom,  therefore,  this  sensibility  cannot  be  an 
obstacle  to  practical  reason. 

[202]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  169 

This  feeling  [sentiment]  (which  we  call  the  moral  feeling) 
is  therefore  produced  simply  by  reason.  It  does  not  serve  for 
the  estimation  of  actions  nor  for  the  foundation  of  the  objective 
moral  law  itself,  but  merely  as  a  motive  to  make  this  of  itself 
a  maxim.  But  what  name  could  we  more  suitably  apply  to  this 
singular  feeling  which  cannot  be  compared  to  any  pathological 
feeling  ?  It  is  of  such  a  peculiar  kind  that  it  seems  to  be  at 
the  disposal  of  reason  only,  and  that  pure  practical  reason. 

Respect  applies  always  to  persons  only — not  to  things.  The 
latter  may  arouse  inclination,  and  if  they  are  animals  (e.g. 
horses,  dogs,  &c.),  even  love  or  fear,  like  the  sea,  a  volcano,  a 
beast  of  prey  ;  but  never  respect.  Something  that  comes  nearer 
to  this  feeling  is  admiration,  and  this,  as  an  affection,  astonish 
ment,  can  apply  to  things  also,  e.g.  lofty  mountains,  the  mag 
nitude,  number,  and  distance  of  the  heavenly  bodies,  the 
strength  and  swiftness  of  many  animals,  &c.  But  all  this  is 
not  respect.  A  man  also  may  be  an  object  to  me  of  love,  fear, 
or  admiration,  even  to  astonishment,  and  yet  not  be  an  object 
of  respect.  His  jocose  humour,  his  courage  and  strength,  his 
power  from  the  rank  he  has  amongst  others  (202),  may  inspire 
me  with  sentiments  of  this  kind,  but  still  inner  respect  for  him 
is  wanting.  Fontenelle  says,  "  I  bow  before  a  great  man,  but 
my  mind  does  not  bow."  I  would  add,  before  an  humble 
plain  man,  in  whom  I  perceive  uprightness  of  character  in  a 
higher  degree  than  I  am  conscious  of  in  myself,  my  mind  lows 
whether  I  choose  it  or  not,  and  though  I  bear  my  head  never 
so  high  that  he  may  not  forget  my  superior  rank.  Why  is 
this  ?  Because  his  example  exhibits  to  me  a  law  that  humbles 
my  self-conceit  when  I  compare  it  with  my  conduct :  a  law, 
the  practicability  of  obedience  to  which  I  see  proved  by  fact 
before  my  eyes.  Now,  I  may  even  be  conscious  of  a  like  degree 
of  uprightness,  and  yet  the  respect  remains.  For  since  in  man 
all  good  is  defective,  the  law  made  visible  by  an  example  still 
humbles  my  pride,  my  standard  being  furnished  by  a  man 
whose  imperfections,  whatever  they  may  be,  are  not  known  to 
me  as  my  own  are,  and  who  therefore  appears  to  me  in  a  more 
favourable  light.  Eespect  is  a  tribute  which  we  cannot  refuse 

170  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [203] 

to  merit;  whether  we  will  or  not ;  we  may  indeed  outwardly 
withhold  it,  but  we  cannot  help  feeling  it  inwardly. 

Kespect  is  so  far  from  being  a  feeling  of  pleasure  that  we 
only  reluctantly  give  way  to  it  as  regards  a  man.  We  try  to 
find  out  something  that  may  lighten  the  burden  of  it,  some 
fault  to  compensate  us  for  the  humiliation  which  such  an  ex 
ample  causes.  Even  the  dead  are  not  always  secure  from  this 
criticism,  especially  if  their  example  appears  inimitable.  Even 
the  moral  law  itself  in  its  solemn  majesty  is  exposed  to  this 
endeavour  to  save  oneself  from  yielding  it  respect  (203).  Can  it 
be  thought  that  it  is  for  any  other  reason  that  we  are  so  ready 
to  reduce  it  to  the  level  of  our  familiar  inclination,  or  that  it 
is  for  any  other  reason  that  we  all  take  such  trouble  to  make  it 
out  to  be  the  chosen  precept  of  our  own  interest  well  understood, 
but  that  we  want  to  be  free  from  the  deterrent  respect  which  shows 
us  our  own  unworthiness  with  such  severity  ?  Nevertheless, 
on  the  other  hand,  so  little  is  there  pain  in  it  that  if  once  one 
has  laid  aside  self-conceit  and  allowed  practical  influence  to 
that  respect,  he  can  never  be  satisfied  with  contemplating  the 
majesty  of  this  law,  and  the  soul  believes  itself  elevated  in  pro 
portion  as  it  sees  the  holy  law  elevated  above  it  and  its  frail 
nature.  No  doubt  great  talents  and  activity  proportioned  to 
them  may  also  occasion  respect  or  an  analogous  feeling.  It  is 
very  proper  to  yield  it  to  them,  and  then  it  appears  as  if  this 
sentiment  were  the  same  thing  as  admiration.  But  if  we  look 
closer,  we  shall  observe  that  it  is  always  uncertain  how  much  of 
the  ability  is  due  to  native  talent,  and  how  much  to  diligence 
in  cultivating  it.  Reason  represents  it  to  us  as  probably  the 
fruit  of  cultivation,  and  therefore  as  meritorious,  and  this 
notably  reduces  our  self-conceit,  and  either  casts  a  reproach  on 
us  or  urges  us  to  follow  such  an  example  in  the  way  that  is 
suitable  to  us.  This  respect,  then,  which  we  -show  to  such  a 
person  (properly  speaking,  to  the  law  that  his  example  exhibits) 
is  not  mere  admiration  ;  and  this  is  confirmed  also  by  the  fact, 
that  when  the  common  run  of  admirers  think  they  have 
learned  from  any  source  the  badness  of  such  a  man's  character 
(for  instance,  Voltaire's),  they  give  up  all  respect  for  him  ; 

[205]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  171 

whereas  the  true  scholar  still  feels  it  at  least  with  regard  to 
his  talents,  because  he  is  himself  engaged  in  a  business  and  a 
vocation  (204)  which  make  imitation  of  such  a  man  in  some 
degree  a  law. 

Kespect  for  the  moral  law  is  therefore  the  only  and  the 
undoubted  moral  motive,  and  this  feeling  is  directed  to  no 
object,  except  on  the  ground  of  this  law.  The  moral  law  first 
determines  the  will  objectively  and  directly  in  the  judgment 
of  reason  ;  and  freedom,  whose  causality  can  be  determined  only 
by  the  law,  consists  just  in  this,  that  it  restricts  all  inclinations, 
and  consequently  self-esteem,  by  the  condition  of  obedience  to 
its  pure  law.  This  restriction  now  has  an  effect  on  feeling,  and 
produces  the  impression  of  displeasure  which  can  be  known  a 
priori  from  the  moral  law.  Since  it  is  so  far  only  a  negative 
effect  which,  arising  from  the  influence  of  pure  practical  reason, 
checks  the  activity  of  the  subject,  so  far  as  it  is  determined  by 
inclinations,  and  hence  checks  the  opinion  of  his  personal  worth 
(which,  in  the  absence  of  agreement  with  the  moral  law,  is 
reduced  to  nothing) ;  hence,  the  effect  of  this  law  on  feeling 
is  merely  humiliation.  We  can,  therefore,  perceive  this  d  priori, 
but  cannot  know  by  it  the  force  of  the  pure  practical  law  as  a 
motive,  but  only  the  resistance  to  motives  of  the  sensibility. 
But  since  the  same  law  is  objectively,  that  is,  in  the  conception 
of  pure  reason,  an  immediate  principle  of  determination  of  the 
will,  and  consequently  this  humiliation  takes  place  only  rela 
tively  to  the  purity  of  the  law  ;  hence,  the  lowering  of  the  pre 
tensions  of  moral  self-esteem,  that  is,  humiliation  on  the  sensible 
side,  is  an  elevation  of  the  moral,  i.e.  practical,  esteem  for  the 
law  itself  on  the  intellectual  side ;  in  a  word,  it  is  respect  for 
the  law,  and  therefore,  as  its  cause  is  intellectual,  a  positive 
feeling  which  can  be  known  d  priori.  For  whatever  diminishes 
the  obstacles  to  an  activity  furthers  this  activity  itself  (205). 
Now  the  recognition  of  the  moral  law  is  the  consciousness  of 
an  activity  of  practical  reason  from  objective  principles,  which 
only  fails  to  reveal  its  effect  in  actions  because  subjective 
(pathological)  causes  hinder  it.  Kespect  for  the  moral  law, 
then,  must  be  regarded  as  a  positive,  though  indirect,  effect  of 

172  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [206] 

it  on  feeling,  inasmuch  as  this  respect1  weakens  the  impeding 
influence  of  inclinations  by  humiliating  self-esteem  ;  and  hence 
also  as  a  subjective  principle  of  activity,  that  is,  as  a  motive  to 
obedience  to  the  law,  and  as  a  principle  of  the  maxims  of  a  life 
conformable  to  it.  From  the  notion  of  a  motive  arises  that  of 
an  interest,  which  can  never  be  attributed  to  any  being  unless 
it  possesses  reason,  and  which  signifies  a  motive  of  the  will  in  so 
far  as  it  is  conceived  by  the  reason.  Since  in  a  morally  good 
will  the  law  itself  must  be  the  motive,  the  moral  interest  is  a 
pure  interest  of  practical  reason  alone,  independent  on  sense. 
On  the  notion  of  an  interest  is  based  that  of  a  maxim.  This, 
therefore,  is  morally  good  only  in  case  it  rests  simply  on  the 
interest  taken  in  obedience  to  the  law.  All  three  notions,  how 
ever,  that  of  a  motive,  of  an  interest,  and  of  a  maxim,  can  be 
applied  only  to  finite  beings.  For  they  all  suppose  a  limita 
tion  of  the  nature  of  the  being,  in  that  the  subjective  character 
of  his  choice  does  not  of  itself  agree  with  the  objective  law  of 
a,  practical  reason ;  they  suppose  that  the  being  requires  to  be 
impelled  to  action  by  something,  because  an  internal  obstacle 
opposes  itself.  Therefore  they  cannot  be  applied  to  the  Divine 

There  is  something  so  singular  in  the  unbounded  esteem  for 
the  pure  moral  law,  apart  from  all  advantage,  as  it  is  presented 
for  our  obedience  by  practical  reason,  the  voice  of  which  makes 
even  the  boldest  sinner  tremble,  and  compels  him  to  hide  him 
self  from  it  (206),  that  we  cannot  wonder  if  we  find  this  influence 
of  a  mere  intellectual  idea  on  the  feelings  quite  incomprehen 
sible  to  speculative  reason,  and  have  to  be  satisfied  with  seeing 
so  much  of  this  d  priori,  that  such  a  feeling  is  inseparably  con 
nected  with  the  conception  of  the  moral  law  in  every  finite 
rational  being.  If  this  feeling  of  respect  were  pathological, 
and  therefore  were  a  feeling  of  pleasure  based  on  the  inner 
sense,  it  would  be  in  vain  to  try  to  discover  a  connexion  of  it 

1  ["Jener,"  in  Rosenkranz' text  is  an  error.  We  must  read  either 
"jene,"  "this  respect,"  or  "jenes,"  "  this  feeling."  Hartenstein  adopts 
"  jenes."] 

[207]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  173 

with  any  idea  a  priori.  But  [it1]  is  a  feeling  that  applies 
merely  to  what  is  practical,  and  depends  on  the  conception  of 
a  law,  simply  as  to  its  form,  not  on  account  of  any  object,  and 
therefore  cannot  be  reckoned  either  as  pleasure  or  pain,  and  yet 
produces  an  interest  in  obedience  to  the  law,  which  we  call  the 
moral  interest,  just  as  the  capacity  of  taking  such  an  interest  in 
the  law  (or  respect  for  the  moral  law  itself)  is  properly  the 
moral  feeling  [or  sentiment]. 

The  consciousness  of  a  free  submission  of  the  will  to  the  law, 
yet  combined  with  an  inevitable  constraint  put  upon  all  incli 
nations,  though  only  by  our  own  reason,  is  respect  for  the  law. 
The  law  that  demands  this  respect  and  inspires  it  is  clearly 
no  other  than  the  moral  (for  no  other  precludes  all  inclinations 
from  exercising  any  direct  influence  on  the  will).  An  action 
which  is  objectively  practical  according  to  this  law,  to  the 
exclusion  of  every  determining  principle  of  inclination,  is  duty, 
and  this  by  reason  of  that  exclusion  includes  in  its  concept 
practical  obligation,  that  is,  a  determination  to  actions,  however 
reluctantly  they  may  be  done.  The  feeling  that  arises  from 
the  consciousness  of  this  obligation  is  not  pathological,  as 
would  be  a  feeling  produced  by  an  object  of  the  senses,  but 
practical  only,  that  is,  it  is  made  possible  by  a  preceding  (207) 
(objective)  determination  of  the  will  and  causality  of  the 
reason.  As  submission  to  the  law,  therefore,  that  is,  as  a  com 
mand  (announcing  constraint  for  the  sensibly  affected  subject), 
it  contains  in  it  no  pleasure,  but  on  the  contrary,  so  far,  pain 
in  the  action.  On  the  other  hand,  however,  as  this  constraint 
is  exercised  merely  by  the  legislation  of  our  own  reason,  it  also 
contains  something  elevating,  and  this  subjective  effect  on  feel 
ing,  inasmuch  as  pure  practical  reason  is  the  sole  cause  of  it, 
may  be  called  in  this  respect  self -approbation,  since  we  recognize 
ourselves  as  determined  thereto  solely  by  the  law  without  any 
interest,  and  are  now  conscious  of  a  quite  different  interest 
subjectively  produced  thereby,  and  which  is  purely  practical  and 

1  [The  original  sentence  is  incomplete.  I  have  completed  it  in  what 
seerns  the  simplest  way.] 

174  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [-208] 

free ;  and  our  taking  this  interest  in  an  action  of  duty  is  not 
suggested  by  any  inclination,  but  is  commanded  and  actually 
brought  about  by  reason  through  the  practical  law ;  whence 
this  feeling  obtains  a  special  name,  that  of  respect. 

The  notion  of  duty,  therefore,  requires  in  the  action,  objec 
tively,  agreement  with  the  law,  and,  subjectively  in  its  maxim, 
that  respect  for  the  law  shall  be  the  sole  mode  in  which  the 
will  is  determined  thereby.  And  on  this  rests  the  distinction 
between  the  consciousness  of  having  acted  according  to  duty 
and/rowi  duty,  that  is,  from  respect  for  the  law.  The  former 
(legality]  is  possible  even  if  inclinations  have  been  the  deter 
mining  principles  of  the  will ;  but  the  latter  (morality),  moral 
worth,  can  be  placed  only  in  this,  that  the  action  is  done  from 
duty,  that  is,  simply  for  the  sake  of  the  law.1 

(203)  It  is  of  the  greatest  importance  to  attend  with  the 
utmost  exactness  in  all  moral  judgments  to  the  subjective 
principle  of  all  maxims,  that  all  the  morality  of  actions  may 
be  placed  in  the  necessity  of  acting  from  duty  and  from  respect 
for  the  law,  not  from  love  and  inclination  for  that  which  the 
actions  are  to  produce.  For  men  and  all  created  rational  beings 
moral  necessity  is  constraint,  that  is  obligation ,  and  every  action 
based  on  it  is  to  be  conceived  as  a  duty,  not  as  a  proceeding 
previously  pleasing,  or  likely  to  be  pleasing  to  us  of  our  own 
accord.  As  if  indeed  we  could  ever  bring  it  about  that  with 
out  respect  for  the  law,  which  implies  fear,  or  at  least  appre 
hension  of  transgression,  we  of  ourselves,  like  the  independent 
Deity,  could  ever  come  into  possession  of  Jioliness  of  will  by  the 
coincidence  of  our  will  with  the  pure  moral  law  becoming  as  it 
were  part  of  our  nature,  never  to  be  shaken  (in  which  case  the 

1  If  we  examine  accurately  the  notion  of  respect  for  persons  as  it  has 
been  already  laid  down,  we  shall  perceive  that  it  always  rests  on  the  con 
sciousness  of  a  duty  which  an  example  shows  us,  and  that  respect,  there 
fore,  can  never  have  any  but  a  moral  ground,  and  that  it  is  very  good  and 
even,  in  a  psychological  point  of  view,  very  useful  for  the  knowledge  of 
mankind,  that  whenever  we  use  this  expression  we  should  attend  to  this 
secret  and  marvellous,  yet  often  recurring,  regard  which  men  in  their 
judgment  pay  to  the  moral  law. 

[210]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  175 

law  would  cease  to  be  a  command  for  us,  as  we  could  never  be 
tempted  to  be  untrue  to  it). 

The  moral  law  is  in  fact  for  the  will  of  a  perfect  being  a 
law  of  holiness,  but  for  the  will  of  every  finite  rational  being  a 
law  of  duty,  of  moral  constraint,  and  of  the  determination  of  its 
actions  by  respect  for  this  law  and  reverence  for  its  duty.  No 
other  subjective  principle  must  be  assumed  as  a  motive,  else 
while  the  action  might  chance  to  be  such  as  the  law  prescribes, 
yet  as  it  does  not  proceed  from  duty,  the  intention,  which  is 
the  thing  properly  in  question  in  this  legislation,  is  not  moral. 

(209)  It  is  a  very  beautiful  thing  to  do  good  to  men  from 
love  to  them  and  from  sympathetic  good  will,  or  to  be  just  from 
love  of  order ;  but  this  is  not  yet  the  true  moral  maxim  of  our 
conduct  which  is  suitable  to  our  position  amongst  rational  beings 
as  men,  when  we  pretend  with  fanciful  pride  to  set  ourselves 
above  the  thought  of  duty,  like  volunteers,  and,  as  if  we  were 
independent  on  the  command,  to  want  to  do  of  our  own  good 
pleasure  what  we  think  we  need  no  command  to  do.  We  stand 
under  a  discipline  of  reason,  and  in  all  our  maxims  must  not 
forget  our  subjection  to  it,  nor  withdraw  anything  therefrom, 
or  by  an  egotistic  presumption  diminish  aught  of  the  authority 
of  the  law  (although  our  own  reason  gives  it)  so  as  to  set  the 
determining  principle  of  our  will,  even  though  the  law  be  con 
formed  to,  anywhere  else  but  in  the  law  itself  and  in  respect 
for  this  law.  Duty  and  obligation  are  the  only  names  that  we 
must  give  to  our  relation  to  the  moral  law.  We  are  indeed 
legislative  members  of  a  moral  kingdom  rendered  possible  by 
freedom,  and  presented  to  us  by  reason  as  an  object  of  respect ; 
but  yet  we  are  subjects  in  it,  not  the  sovereign,  and  to  mistake 
our  inferior  position  as  creatures,  and  presumptuously  to  reject 
the  authority  of  the  moral  law,  is  already  to  revolt  from  it  in 
spirit,  even  though  the  letter  of  it  is  fulfilled. 

With  this  agrees  very  well  the  possibility  of  such  a  com 
mand  as :  Love  God  above  everything,  and  thy  neighbour  as  thy 
self.1  For  as  a  command  it  requires  respect  for  a  law  (210) 

1  This  law  is  in  striking  contrast  with  the  principle  of  private  happiness 

176  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [21 1] 

which  commands  love  and  does  not  leave  it  to  our  own  ar 
bitrary  choice  to  make  this  our  principle.  Love  to  God, 
however,  considered  as  an  inclination  (pathological  love),  is 
impossible,  for  he  is  not  an  object  of  the  senses.  The  same 
affection  towards  men  is  possible  no  doubt,  but  cannot  be  com 
manded,  for  it  is  not  in  the  power  of  any  man  to  love  anyone 
at  command ;  therefore  it  is  only  practical  love  that  is  meant  in 
that  pith  of  all  laws.  To  love  God  means,  in  this  sense,  to  like 
to  do  His  commandments ;  to  love  one's  neighbour  means  to 
like  to  practise  all  duties  towards  him.  But  the  command  that 
makes  this  a  rule  cannot  command  us  to  have  this  disposition 
in  actions  conformed  to  duty,  but  only  to  endeavour  after  it. 
For  a  command  to  like  to  do  a  thing  is  in  itself  contradictory, 
because  if  we  already  know  of  ourselves  what  we  are  bound 
to  do,  and  if  further  we  are  conscious  of  liking  to  do  it,  a  com 
mand  would  be  quite  needless ;  and  if  we  do  it  not  willingly, 
but  only  out  of  respect  for  the  law,  a  command  that  makes  this 
respect  the  motive  of  our  maxim  would  directly  counteract  the 
disposition  commanded.  That  law  of  all  laws,  therefore,  like 
all  the  moral  precepts  of  the  Gospel,  exhibits  the  moral  disposition 
in  all  its  perfection,  in  which,  viewed  as  an  Ideal  of  holiness, 
it  is  not  attainable  by  any  creature,  but  yet  is  the  pattern 
which  we  should  strive  to  approach,  and  in  an  uninterrupted 
but  infinite  progress  become  like  to.  In  fact,  if  a  rational 
creature  could  ever  reach  this  point,  that  he  thoroughly  likes 
to  do  all  moral  laws,  this  would  mean  that  there  does  not  exist 
in  him  even  the  possibility  of  a  desire  that  would  tempt  him 
to  deviate  from  them;  for  to  overcome  such  a  desire  always 
costs  the  subject  some  sacrifice,  and  therefore  requires  self- 
compulsion,  that  is,  inward  constraint  to  something  that  one 
does  not  quite  like  to  do ;  and  no  creature  can  ever  reach  this 
stage  of  moral  disposition  (211).  For,  being  a  creature,  and 
therefore  always  dependent  with  respect  to  what  he  requires 

which  some  make  the  supreme  principle  of  morality.  This  would  be 
expressed  thus  :  Love  thyself  above  everything,  and  God  and  thy  neighbour 
fur  thine  own  nake. 

[21 1]  PURE  PRACTICAL  REASON.  177 

for  complete  satisfaction,  he  can  never  be  quite  free  from 
desires  and  inclinations,  and  as  these  rest  on  physical  causes, 
they  can  never  of  themselves  coincide  with  the  moral  law,1  the 
sources  of  which  are  quite  different ;  and  therefore  they  make 
it  necessary  to  found  the  mental  disposition  of  one's  maxims 
on  moral  obligation,  not  on  ready  inclination,  but  on  respect, 
which  demands  obedience  to  the  law,  even  though  one  may  not 
like  it ;  not  on  love,  which  apprehends  no  inward  reluctance 
of  the  will  towards  the  law.  Nevertheless,  this  latter,  namely, 
love  to  the  law  (which  would  then  cease  to  be  a  command, 
and  then  morality,  which  would  have  passed  subjectively  into 
holiness,  would  cease  to  be  virtue),  must  be  the  constant  though 
unattainable  goal  of  his  endeavours.  For  in  the  case  of  what 
we  highly  esteem,  but  yet  (on  account  of  the  consciousness 
of  our  weakness)  dread,  the  increased  facility  of  satisfying  it 
changes  the  most  reverential  awe  into  inclination,  and  respect 
into  love :  at  least  this  would  be  the  perfection  of  a  disposition 
devoted  to  the  law,  if  it  were  possible  for  a  creature  to  attain  it.2 

1  [Compare  Butler  : — "Though  we  should  suppose  it  impossible  for 
particular  affections  to  be  absolutely  coincident  with  the  moral  principle, 
and  consequently  should  allow  that  such  creatures  .  .  .  would  for  ever 
remain  defectible  ;  yet  their  danger  of  actually  deviating  from  right  may 
be  almost  infinitely  lessened,  and  they  fully  fortified  against  what  remains 
of  it — if  that  may  be  called  danger  against  which  there  is  an  adequate 
effectual  security." — Analogy,  Fitzgerald's  Ed.,  p.  100.] 

•  [What  renders  this  discussion  not  irrelevant  is  the  fact  that  the 
German  language,  like  the  English,  possesses  but  one  word  to  express 
4>iA«ri',  ayairnv,  and  tpav.  The  first,  (piAeiV,  expresses  the  love  of  affection. 
The  general  good-will  due  from  man  to  man  had  no  name  in  classical  Greek  ; 
it  is  described  in  one  aspect  of  it  by  Aristotle  as  <f>t\ia  &vfv  Trd9ovs  «al  roG 
ffTfpyfiv  (Eth.  Nic.  iv.  65)  ;  elsewhere,  however,  he  calls  it  simply  <t>i\ia 
(viii.  11,  7).  The  verb  ayawdu  was  used  by  the  LXX  in  the  precept  quoted 
in  the  text,  though  elsewhere  they  employed  it  as  =  fy«i/.'  But  in  the  New 
Test,  the  verb,  aud  with  it  the  noun  aydinj  (which  is  not  found  in  classical 
writers),  were  appropriated  to  this  state  of  mind.  Aristotle,  it  may  be 
observed,  uses  aya-nda,  of  love  to  one's  own  better  part  (ix.  8,  0).  'Epav 
does  not  occur  in  the  New  Test,  at  all.  Butler's  Sermons  on  Love  of  our 
Neighbour,  and  Love  of  God,  may  be  usefully  compared  with  these 
observations  of  Kant.] 


178  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [212] 

This  reflection  is  intended  not  so  much  to  clear  up  the 
evangelical  command  just  cited,  in  order  to  prevent  religious 
fanaticism  in  regard  to  love  of  God,  but  to  define  accurately 
the  moral  disposition  with  regard  directly  to  our  duties 
towards  men,  and  to  check,  or  if  possible  prevent,  a  merely  moral 
fanaticism  which  infects  many  persons.  The  stage  of  morality 
on  which  man  (and,  as  far  as  we  can  see,  every  rational  creature) 
stands  is  respect  for  the  moral  law.  The  disposition  that  he 
ought  to  have  in  obeying  this  is  to  obey  it  from  duty,  not 
from  spontaneous  (212)  inclination,  or  from  an  endeavour  taken 
up  from  liking  and  unbidden ;  and  this  proper  moral  condition 
in  which  he  can  always  be  is  virtue,  that  is,  moral  disposition 
militant,  and  not  holiness  in  the  fancied  possession  of  a  perfect 
purity  of  the  disposition  of  the  will.  It  is  nothing  but  moral 
fanaticism  and  exaggerated  self-conceit  that  is  infused  into 
the  mind  by  exhortation  to  actions  as  noble,  sublime,  and 
magnanimous,  by  which  men  are  led  into  the  delusion  that  it 
is  not  duty,  that  is,  respect  for  the  law,  whose  yoke  (an  easy 
yoke  indeed,  because  reason  itself  imposes  it  on  us)  they  must 
bear,  whether  they  like  it  or  not,  that  constitutes  the  deter 
mining  principle  of  their  actions,  and  which  always  humbles 
them  while  they  obey  it ;  fancying  that  those  actions  are  ex 
pected  from  them,  not  from  duty,  but  as  pure  merit.  For  not 
only  would  they,  in  imitating  such  deeds  from  such  a  prin 
ciple,  not  have  fulfilled  the  spifrit  of  the  law  in  the  least, 
which  consists  not  in  the  legality  of  the  action  (without  regard 
to  principle),  but  in  the  subjection  of  the  mind  to  the  law ;  not 
only  do  they  make  the  motives  pathological  (seated  in  sympathy 
or  self-love),  not  moral  (in  the  law),  but  they  produce  in  this 
way  a  vain,  high-flying,  fantastic  way  of  thinking,  flattering 
themselves  with  a  spontaneous  goodness  of  heart  that  needs 
neither  spur  nor  bridle,  for  which  no  command  is  needed,  and 
thereby  forgetting  their  obligation,  which  they  ought  to  think  of 
rather  than  merit.  Indeed  actions  of  others  which  are  done  with 
great  sacrifice,  and  merely  for  the  sake  of  duty,  may  be  praised 
as  noble  and  sullime,  but  only  so  far  as  there  are  traces  which 
suggest  that  they  were  done  wholly  out  of  respect  for  duty 

[214]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  179 

and  not  from  excited  feelings  (213).  If  these,  however,  are  set 
before  anyone  as  examples  to  be  imitated,  respect  for  duty 
(which  is  the  only  true  moral  feeling)  must  be  employed  as 
the  motive — this  severe  holy  precept  which  never  allows  our 
vain  self-love  to  dally  with  pathological  impulses  (however- 
analogous  they  may  be  to  morality),  and  to  take  a  pride  in 
meritorious  worth.  Now  if  we  search  we  shall  find  for  all 
actions  that  are  worthy  of  praise  a  law  of  duty  which  com 
mands,  and  does  not  leave  us  to  choose  what  may  be  agree 
able  to  our  inclinations.  This  is  the  only  way  of  representing 
things  that  can  give  a  moral  training  to  the  soul,  because  it 
alone  is  capable  of  solid  and  accurately  defined  principles. 

If  fanaticism  in  its  most  general  sense  is  a  deliberate  over 
stepping  of  the  limits  of  human  reason,  then  moral  fanaticism 
is  such  an  overstepping  of  the  bounds  that  practical  pure  reason 
sets  to  mankind,  in  that  it  forbids  us  to  place  the  subjective 
determining  principle  of  correct  actions,  that  is,  their  moral 
motive,  in  anything  but  the  law  itself,  or  to  place  the  disposition 
which  is  thereby  brought  into  the  maxims  in  anything  but 
respect  for  this  law,  and  hence  commands  us  to  take  as  the 
supreme  vital  principle  of  all  morality  in  men  the  thought  of 
duty,  which  strikes  down  all  arrogance  as  well  as  vain  self-love. 

If  this  is  so,  it  is  not  only  writers  of  romance  or  sentimental 
educators  (although  they  may  be  zealous  opponents  of  senti- 
mentalism),  but  sometimes  even  philosophers,  nay,  even  the 
severest  of  all,  the  Stoics,  that  have  brought  in  moral  fanaticism 
instead  of  a  sober  but  wise  moral  discipline,  although  the  fana 
ticism  of  the  latter  was  more  heroic,  that  of  the  former  of  an 
insipid,  effeminate  character ;  and  we  may,  without  hypocrisy, 
say  of  the  moral  teaching  of  the  Gospel  (214),  that  it  first,  by 
the  purity  of  its  moral  principle,  and  at  the  same  time  by  its 
suitability  to  the  limitations  of  finite  beings,  brought  all  the 
good  conduct  of  men  under  the  discipline  of  a  duty  plainly  set 
before  their  eyes,  which  does  not  permit  them  to  indulge  in 
dreams  of  imaginary  moral  perfections ;  and  that  it  also  set  the 
bounds  of  humility  (that  is,  self-knowledge)  to  self-conceit  as 
well  as  to  self-love,  both  which  are  ready  to  mistake  their  limits. 


]80  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [215] 

Dvly  !  Thou  sublime  anil  mighty  name  that  dost  embrace 
nothing  charming  or  insinuating,  but  requirest  submission,  and 
yet  seekest  not  to  move  the  will  by  threatening  aught  that 
would  arouse  natural  aversion  or  terror,  but  merely  boldest 
forth  a  law  which  of  itself  finds  entrance  into  the  mind,  and 
yet  gains  reluctant  reverence  (though  not  always  obedience), 
a  law  before  which  all  inclinations  are  dumb,  even  though  they 
secretly  counter-work  it ;  what  origin  is  there  worthy  of  thee, 
and  where  is  to  be  found  the  root  of  thy  noble  descent  which 
proudly  rejects  all  kindred  with  the  inclinations  ;  a  root  to  be 
derived  from  which  is  the  indispensable  condition  of  the  only 
worth  which  men  can  give  themselves  ? 

It  can  be  nothing  less  than  a  power  which  elevates  man 
above  himself  (as  a  part  of  the  world  of  sense),  a  power  which 
connects  him  with  an  order  of  things  that  only  the  understand 
ing  can  conceive,  with  a  world  which  at  the  same  time  commands 
the  whole  sensible  world,  and  with  it  the  empirically  determin- 
able  existence  of  man  in  time,  as  well  as  the  sum-total  of  all 
ends  (which  totality  alone  suits  such  unconditional  practical 
laws  as  the  moral).  This  power  is  nothing  but  personality,  that 
is,  freedom  and  independence  on  the  mechanism  of  nature,  yet, 
regarded  also  as  a  faculty  of  a  being  which  is  subject  to  special 
laws,  namely,  pure  practical  laws  given  by  its  own  reason  (215) ; 
so  that  the  person  as  belonging  to  the  sensible  world  is  subject 
to  liis  own  personality  as  belonging  to  the  intelligible  [super 
sensible]  world.  It  is,  then,  not  to  be  wondered  at  that  man, 
as  belonging  to  both  worlds,  must  regard  his  own  nature  in 
reference  to  its  second  and  highest  characteristic  only  with 
reverence,  and  its  laws  with  the  highest  respect. 

On  this  origin  are  founded  many  expressions  which  designate 
the  worth  of  objects  according  to  moral  ideas.  The  moral  law 
is  holy  (inviolable).  Man  is  indeed  unholy  enough;  but  lie  must 
regard  humanity  in  his  own  person  as  holy.  In  all  creation 
everything  one  chooses,  and  over  which  one  has  any  power, 
may  be  used  merely  as  in  eons',  man  alone,  and  with  him  every 
rational  creature,  is  an  cn-d  in  himself.  By  virtue  of  the  auto 
nomy  of  his  freedom  he  is  the  subject  of  the  moral  law,  which 

[2ie]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  181 

is  holy.  Just  for  this  reason  every  will,  even  every  person's 
own  individual  will,  in  relation  to  itself,  is  restricted  to  the 
condition  of  agreement  with  the  ajitonomy  of  the  rational 
being,  that  is  to  say,  that  it  is  not  to  be  subject  to  any  purpose 
which  cannot  accord  with  a  law  which  might  arise  from  the 
will  of  the  passive  subject  himself ;  the  latter  is,  therefore, 
never  to  be  employed  merely  as  means,  but  as  itself  also, 
concurrently,  an  end.  We  justly  attribute  this  condition  even 
to  the  Divine  will,  with  regard  to  the  rational  beings  in  the 
world,  which  are  His  creatures,  since  it  rests  on  their  persona  lit//, 
by  which  alone  they  are  ends  in  themselves. 

This  respect-inspiring  idea  of  personality  which  sets  before 
our  eyes  the  sublimity  of  our  nature  (in  its  higher  aspect), 
while  at  the  same  time  it  shows  us  the  want  of  accord  of  our 
conduct  with  it,  and  thereby  strikes  down  self-conceit,  is  even 
natural  to  the  commonest  reason,  and  easily  observed  (216).  Has 
not  every  even  moderately  honourable  man  sometimes  found 
that,  where  by  an  otherwise  inoffensive  lie  he  might  either  have 
withdrawn  himself  from  an  unpleasant  business,  or  even  have 
procured  some  advantage  for  a  loved  and  well-deserving  friend, 
he  has  avoided  it  solely  lest  he  should  despise  himself  secretly 
in  his  own  eyes  ?  When  an  upright  man  is  in  the  greatest 
distress,  which  he  might  have  avoided  if  he  could  only  have 
disregarded  duty,  is  he  not  sustained  by  the  consciousness  that 
he  has  maintained  humanity  in  its  proper  dignity  in  his  own 
person  and  honoured  it,  that  he  has  no  reason  to  be  ashamed  of 
himself  in  his  own  sight,  or  to  dread  the  inward  glance  of  self- 
examination  ?  This  consolation  is  not  happiness,  it  is  not  even 
the  smallest  part  of  it,  for  no  one  would  wish  to  have  occasion 
for  it,  or  would  perhaps  even  desire  a  life  in  such  circum 
stances.  But  he  lives,  and  he  cannot  endure  that  he  should  be 
in  his  own  eyes  unworthy  of  life.  This  inward  peace  is  there 
fore  merely  negative  as  regards  what  can  make  life  pleasant ;  it 
is,  in  fact,  only  the  escaping  the  danger  of  sinking  in  personal 
worth,  after  everything  else  that  is  valuable  has  been  lost.  It 
is  the  effect  of  a  respect  for  something  quite  different  from  life, 
something  in  comparison  and  contrast  with  which  life  with  all 

182  THE  ANALYTIC   OF  [218] 

its  enjoyment  has  no  value.     He  still  lives  only  because  it  is 
his  duty,  not  because  be  finds  anything  pleasant  in  life. 

Such  is  the  nature  of  the  true  motive  of  pure  practical 
reason ;  it  is  no  other  than  the  pure  moral  law  itself,  inasmuch 
as  it  makes  us  conscious  of  the  sublimity  of  our  own  super 
sensible  existence,  and  subjectively  (217)  produces  respect  for 
their  higher  nature  in  men  who  are  also  conscious  of  their 
sensible  existence  and  of  the  consequent  dependence  of  their 
pathologically  very  susceptible  nature.  Now  with  this  motive 
may  be  combined  so  many  charms  and  satisfactions  of  life,  that 
even  on  this  account  alone  the  most  prudent  choice  of  a  rational 
Epicurean  reflecting  on  the  greatest  advantage  of  life  would 
declare  itself  on  the  side  of  moral  conduct,  and  it  may  even  be 
advisable  to  join  this  prospect  of  a  cheerful  enjoyment  of  life 
with  that  supreme  motive  which  is  already  sufficient  of  itself ; 
but  only  as  a  counterpoise  to  the  attractions  which  vice  does  not 
fail  to  exhibit  on  the  opposite  side,  and  not  so  as,  even  in  the 
smallest  degree,  to  place  in  this  the  proper  moving  power  when 
duty  is  in  question.  For  that  would  be  just  the  same  as  to 
wish  to  taint  the  purity  of  the  moral  disposition  in  its  source. 
The  majesty  of  duty  has  nothing  to  do  with  enjoyment  of  life ; 
it  has  its  special  law  and  its  special  tribunal,  and  though  the 
two  should  be  never  so  well  shaken  together  to  be  given  well 
mixed,  like  medicine,  to  the  sick  soul,  yet  they  will  soon 
separate  of  themselves ;  and  if  they  do  not,  the  former  will  not 
act ;  and  although  physical  life  might  gain  somewhat  in  force, 
the  moral  life  would  fade  away  irrecoverably. 



By  the  critical  examination  of  a  science,  or  of  a  portion  of  it, 
which  constitutes  a  system  by  itself,  I  understand  the  inquiry 
and  proof  why  it  must  have  this  and  no  other  systematic 
form  (218),  when  we  compare  it  with  another  system  which  is 
based  on  a  similar  faculty  of  knowledge.  Now  practical  and 
speculative  reason  are  based  on  the  same  faculty,  so  far  as  both 

[219]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  183 

are  pure  reason.  Therefore  the  difference  in  their  systematic 
form  must  be  determined  by  the  comparison  of  both,  and  the 
ground  of  this  must  be  assigned. 

The  Analytic  of  pure  theoretic  reason  had  to  do  with  the 
knowledge  of  such  objects  as  may  have  been  given  to  the 
understanding,  and  was  obliged  therefore  to  begin  from  intuition, 
and  consequently  (as  this  is  always  sensible)  from  sensibility ; 
and  only  after  that  could  advance  to  concepts  (of  the  objects  of 
this  intuition),  and  could  only  end  with  principles  after  both 
these  had  preceded.  On  the  contrary,  since  practical  reason 
has  not  to  do  with  objects  so  as  to  know  them,  but  with  its  own 
faculty  of  realizing  them  (in  accordance  with  the  knowledge  of 
them),  that  is,  with  a  will  which  is  a  causality,  inasmuch  as 
reason  contains  its  determining  principle ;  since  consequently  it 
has  not  to  furnish  an  object  of  intuition,  but  as  practical  reason 
has  to  furnish  only  a  law  (because  the  notion  of  causality 
always  inplies  the  reference  to  a  law  which  determines  the 
existence  of  the  many  in  relation  to  one  another) ;  hence  a 
critical  examination  of  the  Analytic  of  reason,  if  this  is  to  be 
practical  reason  (and  this  is  properly  the  problem),  must  begin 
with  the  possibility  of  practical  principles  a  priori.  Only  after 
that  can  it  proceed  to  concepts  of  the  objects  of  a  practical 
reason,  namely,  those  of  absolute  good  and  evil,  in  order  to 
assign  them  in  accordance  with  those  principles  (for  prior  to 
those  principles  they  cannot  possibly  be  given  as  good  and  evil 
by  any  faculty  of  knowledge),  and  only  then  could  the  section 
be  concluded  with  the  last  chapter,  that,  namely,  which  treats  of 
the  relation  of  the  pure  practical  reason  to  the  sensibility  (219)  and 
of  its  necessary  influence  thereon,  which  is  a  priori  cognisable, 
that  is,  of  the  moral  sentiment.  Thus  the  Analytic  of  the  prac 
tical  pure  reason  has  the  whole  extent  of  the  conditions  of  its 
use  in  common  with  the  theoretical,  but  in  reverse  order.  The 
Analytic  of  pure  theoretic  reason  was  divided  into  transcen 
dental  ^Esthetic  and  transcendental  Logic,  that  of  the  practical 
reversely  into  Logic  and  ^Esthetic  of  pure  practical  reason  (if 
I  may,  for  the  sake  of  analogy  merely,  use  these  designations, 
which  are  not  quite  suitable).  This  logic  again  was  there 

184  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [220] 

divided  into  the  Analytic  of  concepts  and  that  of  principles : 
here  into  that  of  principles  and  concepts.  The  ^Esthetic  also 
had  in  the  former  cases  two  parts,  on  account  of  the  two  kinds 
of  sensible  intuition ;  here  the  sensibility  is  not  considered  as 
a  capacity  of  intuition  at  all,  but  merely  as  feeling  (which  can 
be  a  subjective  ground  of  desire),  and  in  regard  to  it  pure 
practical  reason  admits  no  further  division. 

It  is  also  easy  to  see  the  reason  why  this  division  into  two 
parts  with  its  subdivision  was  not  actually  adopted  here  (as  one 
might  have  been  induced  to  attempt  by  the  example  of  the 
former  critique).  For  since  it  is  pure  reason  that  is  here  con 
sidered  in  its  practical  use,  and  consequently  as  proceeding  from 
d  priori  principles,  and  not  from  empirical  principles  of  deter 
mination,  hence  the  division  of  the  analytic  of  pure  practical 
reason  must  resemble  that  of  a  syllogism,  namely,  proceeding 
from  the  universal  in  the  major  premiss  (the  moral  principle), 
through  a  'minor  premiss  containing  a  subsumption  of  possible 
actions  (as  good  or  evil)  under  the  former,  to  the  conclusion, 
namely,  the  subjective  determination  of  the  will  (an  interest  in 
the  possible  practical  good,  and  in  the  maxim  founded  on  it). 
He  who  has  been  able  to  convince  himself  of  the  truth  of  the 
positions  occurring  in  the  Analytic  (220)  will  take  pleasure  in 
such  comparisons ;  for  they  justly  suggest  the  expectation  that 
we  may  perhaps  some  day  be  able  to  discern  the  unity  of  the 
whole  faculty  of  reason  (theoretical  as  well  as  practical),  and  be 
able  to  derive  all  from  one  principle,  which  is  what  human 
reason  inevitably  demands,  as  it  finds  complete  satisfaction  only 
in  a  perfectly  systematic  unity  of  its  knowledge. 

If  now  we  consider  also  the  contents  of  the  knowledge  that 
we  can  have  of  a  pure  practical  reason,  and  by  means  of  it,  as 
shown  by  the  Analytic,  we  find,  along  with  a  remarkable 
analogy  between  it  and  the  theoretical,  no  less  remarkable 
differences.  As  regards  the  theoretical,  the  faculty  of  a  pure 
rational  coynition  a  priori  could  be  easily  and  evidently  proved 
by  examples  from  sciences  (in  which,  as  they  put  their  prin 
ciples  to  the  test  in  so  many  ways  by  methodical  use,  there  is 
not  so  much  reason  as  in  common  knowledge  to  fear  a  secret 

[22l]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  185 

mixture  of  empirical  principles  of  cognition).  But,  that  pure 
reason  without  the  admixture  of  any  empirical  principle  is 
practical  of  itself,  this  could  only  be  shown  from  the  commonest 
practical  use  of  reason,  by  verifying  the  fact,  that  every  man's 
natural  reason  acknowledges  the  supreme  practical  principle 
as  the  supreme  law  of  his  will — a  law  completely  a  priori,  and 
not  depending  on  any  sensible  data.  It  was  necessary  first 
to  establish  and  verify  the  purity  of  its  origin,  even  in  the  judg 
ment  of  this  common  reason,  before  science  could  take  it  in  hand 
to  make  use  of  it,  as  a  fact,  that  is,  prior  to  all  disputation  about 
its  possibility,  and  all  the  consequences  that  may  be  drawn  from 
it.  But  this  circumstance  may  be  readily  explained  from  what 
has  just  been  said  (221);  because  practical  pure  reason  must 
necessarily  begin  with  principles,  which  therefore  must  be  the 
first  data,  the  foundation  of  all  science,  and  cannot  be  derived 
from  it.  It  was  possible  to  effect  this  verification  of  moral 
principles  as  principles  of  a  pure  reason  quite  well,  and  with 
sufficient  certainty,  by  a  single  appeal  to  the  judgment  of  com 
mon  sense,  for  this  reason,  that  anything  empirical  which  might 
slip  into  our  maxims  as  a  determining  principle  of  the  will  can 
be  detected  at  once  by  the  feeling  of  pleasure  or  pain  which 
necessarily  attaches  to  it  as  exciting  desire ;  whereas  pure  prac 
tical  reason  positively  refuses  to  admit  this  feeling  into  its  prin 
ciple  as  a  condition.  The  heterogeneity  of  the  determining 
principles  (the  empirical  and  rational)  is  clearly  detected  by 
this  resistance  of  a  practically  legislating  reason  against  every 
admixture  of  inclination,  and  by  a  peculiar  kind  of  sentiment, 
which,  however,  does  not  precede  the  legislation  of  the  practical 
reason,  but,  on  the  contrary,  is  produced  by  this  as  a  constraint, 
namely,  by  the  feeling  of  a  respect  such  as  no  man  has  for  incli 
nations  of  whatever  kind  but  for  the  law  only ;  and  it  is  detected 
in  so  marked  and  prominent  a  manner  that  even  the  most  unin- 
structed  cannot  fail  to  see  at  once  in  an  example  presented  to 
liim,  that  empirical  principles  of  volition  may  indeed  urge  him 
to  follow  their  attractions,  but  that  he  can  never  be  expected  to 
obey  anything  but  the  pure  practical  law  of  reason  alone. 

The.  distinction  between  the  doctrine  of  happiness  and  the 

186  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [223] 

doctrine  of  morality  {ethics],  in  the  former  of  which  empirical 
principles  constitute  the  entire  foundation,  while  in  the  second 
they  do  not  form  the  smallest  part  of  it,  is  the  first  and  most 
important  office  of  the  analytic  of  pure  practical  reason ;  and 
it^must  proceed  in  it  with  as  much  exactness  (222)  and,  so  to 
speak,  scrupulousness  as  any  geometer  in  his  work.  The  philo 
sopher,  however,  has  greater  difficulties  to  contend  with  here 
(as  always  in  rational  cognition  by  means  of  concepts  merely 
without  construction),  because  he  cannot  take  any  intuition  as 
a  foundation  (for  a  pure  noumenon).  He  has,  however,  this 
advantage  that,  like  the  chemist,  he  can  at  any  time  make  an 
experiment  with  every  man's  practical  reason  for  the  purpose  of 
distinguishing  the  moral  (pure)  principle  of  determination  from 
the  empirical,  namely,  by  adding  the  moral  law  (as  a  determin 
ing  principle)  to  the  empirically  affected  will  (e.g.  that  of  the 
man  who  would  be  ready  to  lie  because  he  can  gain  something 
thereby).  It  is  as"if  the  analyst  added  alkali  to  a  solution  of 
lime  in  hydrochloric  acid,  the  acid  at  once  forsakes  the  lime, 
combines  with  the  alkali,  and  the  lime  is  precipitated.  Just  in 
the  same  way,  if  to  a  man  who  is  otherwise  honest  (or  who  for 
this  occasion  places  himself  only  in  thought  in  the  position  of 
an  honest  man),  we  present  the  moral  law  by  which  he  recog 
nizes  the  worthlessness  of  the  liar,  his  practical  reason  (in  form 
ing  a  judgment  of  what  ought  to  be  done)  at  once  forsakes  the 
advantage,  combines  with  that  which  maintains  in  him  respect 
for  his  own  person  (truthfulness),  and  the  advantage  after  it  has 
been  separated  and  washed  from  every  particle  of  reason  (which 
is  altogether  on  the  side  of  duty)  is  easily  weighed  by  everyone, 
so  that  it  can  enter  into  combination  with  reason  in  other  cases, 
only  not  where  it  could  be  opposed  to  the  moral  law,  which 
reason  never  forsakes,  but  most  closely  unites  itself  with. 

But  it  does  not  follow  that  this  distinction  between  the 
principle  of  happiness  and  that  of  morality  is  an  opposition 
between  them,  and  pure  practical  reason  does  riot  require  that  we 
should  renounce  all  claim  to  happiness,  but  only  that  the  moment 
duty  is  in  question  we  should  take  no  account  of  happiness  (223). 
It  may  even  in  certain  respects  be  a  duty  to  provide  for  happi- 

[224]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  187 

ness  ;  partly,  because  (including  skill,  wealth,  riches)  it  contains 
means  for  the  fulfilment  of  our  duty  ;  partly,  because  the  absence 
of  it  (e.g.  poverty)  implies  temptation  to  transgress  our  duty. 
But  it  can  never  be  an  immediate  duty  to  promote  our  happiness, 
still  less  can  it  be  the  principle  of  all  duty.  Now,  as  all  deter 
mining  principles  of  the  will,  except  the  law  of  pure  practical 
reason  alone  (the  moral  law)  are  all  empirical,  and  therefore,  as 
such  belong  to  the  principle  of  happiness,  they  must  all  be  kept 
apart  from  the  supreme  principle  of  morality,  and  never  be  in 
corporated  with  it  as  a  condition ;  since  this  would  be  to  destroy 
all  moral  worth  just  as  much  as  any  empirical  admixture  with 
geometrical  principles  would  destroy  the  certainty  of  mathema 
tical  evidence,  which  in  Plato's  opinion  is  the  most  excellent 
thing  in  mathematics,  even  surpassing  their  utility. 

Instead,  however,  of  the  Deduction  of  the  supreme  principle 
of  pure  practical  reason,  that  is,  the  explanation  of  the  possi 
bility  of  such  a  knowledge  d  priori,  the  utmost  we  were  able  to 
do  was  to  show  that  if  we  saw  the  possibility  of  the  freedom  of 
an  efficient  cause,  we  should  also  see  not  merely  the  possibility, 
but  even  the  necessity  of  the  moral  law  as  the  supreme  practical 
law  of  rational  beings,  to  whom  we  attribute  freedom  of  cau 
sality  of  their  will;  because  both  concepts  are  so  inseparably 
united,  that  we  might  define  practical  freedom  as  independence 
of  the  will  on  anything  but  the  moral  law.  But  we  cannot 
perceive  the  possibility  of  the  freedom  of  an  efficient  cause, 
especially  in  the  world  of  sense ;  we  are  fortunate  if  only  we 
can  be  sufficiently  assured  that  there  is  no  proof  of  its  impos 
sibility,  and  are  now  by  the  moral  law  which  postulates  it  com 
pelled  (224),  and  therefore  authorized  to  assume  it.  However, 
there  are  still  many  who  think  that  they  can  explain  this  free 
dom  on  empirical  principles,  like  any  other  physical  faculty, 
and  treat  it  as  a  psychological  property,  the  explanation  of  which 
only  requires  a  more  exact  study  of  the  nature  of  the,  soul  and  of 
the  motives  of  the  will,  and  not  as  a  transcendental  predicate  of 
the  causality  of  a  being  that  belongs  to  the  world  of  sense  (which 
is  really  the  point).  They  thus  deprive  us  of  the  grand  revela 
tion  which  we  obtain  through  practical  reason  by  means  of  the 

188  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [225] 

moral  law,  the  revelation,  namely,  of  a  supersensible  world  by 
the  realization  of  the  otherwise  transcendent  concept  of  freedom, 
and  by  this  deprive  us  also  of  the  moral  law  itself,  which  admits 
no  empirical  principle  of  determination.  Therefore  it  will  be 
necessary  to  add  something  here  as  a  protection  .against  this 
delusion,  and  to  exhibit  empiricism  in  its  naked  superficiality. 

The  notion  of  causality  as  physical  necessity,  in  opposition  to 
the  same  notion  as  freedom,  concerns  only  the  existence  of  things 
so  far  as  it  is  detcnninoble  in  time,  and,  consequently,  as  pheno 
mena,  in  opposition  to  their  causality  as  things  in  themselves. 
Now  if  we  take  the  attributes  of  existence  of  things  in  time  for 
attributes  of  things  in  themselves  (which  is  the  common  view), 
then  it  is  impossible  to  reconcile  the  necessity  of  the  causal  rela 
tion  with  freedom ;  they  are  contradictory.  For  from  the  former 
it  follows  that  every  event,  and  consequently  every  action  that 
takes  place  at  a  certain  point  of  time,  is  a  necessary  result  of 
what  existed  in  time  preceding.  Now  as  time  past  is  no  longer 
in  my  power,  hence  every  action  that  I  perform  must  be  the 
necessary  result  of  certain  determining  grounds  which  arc  not  in 
my  power,  that  is,  at  the  moment  in  wrhich  I  am  acting  I  am 
never  free  (225).  Nay,  even  if  I  assume  that  my  whole  exis 
tence  is  independent  on  any  foreign  cause  (for  instance,  God), 
so  that  the  determining  principles  of  my  causality,  and  even  of 
my  whole  existence,  were  not  outside  myself,  yet  this  would  not 
in  the  least  transform  that' physical  necessity  into  freedom.  For 
at  every  moment  of  time  I  am  still  under  the  necessity  of  being 
determined  to  action  by  that  which  is  not  in  my  power,  and  the 
series  of  events  infinite  a  partc  priori  which  I  only  continue 
according  to  a  pre-determined  order,  and  could  never  begin  of 
myself,  would  be  a  continuous  physical  chain,  and  therefore  my 
causality  would  never  be  freedom. 

If,  then,  we  would  attribute  freedom  to  a  being  whose  exis 
tence  is  determined  in  time,  we  cannot  except  him  from  the  law 
of  necessity  as  to  all  events  in  his  existence,  and  consequently 
as  to  his  actions  also ;  for  that  would  be  to  hand  him  over  to  blind 
chance.  Now  as  this  law  inevitably  applies  to  all  the  causality 
of  things,  so  far  as  their  existence  is  determinable  in  time,  it 

[226]  PURE  PRACTICAL   REASON.  189 

follows  that  if  this  were  the  mode  in  which  we  had  also  to 
conceive  the  existence  of  these  things  in  themselves,  freedom  must 
be  rejected  as  a  vain  and  impossible  conception.  Consequently, 
if  we  would  still  save  it,  no  other  way  remains  but  to  consider 
that  the  existence  of  a  thing,  so  far  as  it  is  determinable  in 
time,  and  therefore  its  causality,  according  to  the  law  of  physical 
necessity,  belong  to  appearance,  and  to  attribute  freedom  to  the 
same  being  as  a  thing  in  itself.  This  is  certainly  inevitable,  if 
we  would  retain  both  these  contradictory  concepts  together ; 
but  in  application  when  we  try  to  explain  their  combination 
in  one  and  the  same  action,  great  difficulties  present  themselves 
which  seem  to  render  such  a  combination  impracticable. 

(226)  When  I  say  of  a  man  who  commits  a  theft  that,  by 
the  physical  law  of  causality,  this  deed  is  a  necessary  result  of 
the  determining  causes  in  preceding  time,  then  it  was  impossible 
that  it  could  not  have  happened ;  how  then  can  the  judgment, 
according  to  the  moral  law,  make  any  change,  and  suppose 
that  it  could  have  been  omitted,  because  the  law  says  that  it 
ought  to  have  been  omitted  :  that  is,  how  can  a  man  be  called 
quite  free  at  the  same  moment,  and  with  respect  to  the  same 
action  in  which  he  is  subject  to  an  inevitable  physical  necessity  ? 
Some  try  to  evade  this  by  saying  that  the  causes  that  determine 
his  causality  are  of  such  a  kind  as  to  agree  with  a  comparative 
notion  of  freedom.  According  to  this,  that  is  sometimes  called 
a  free  effect,  the  determining  physical  cause  of  which  lies  within 
in  the  acting  thing  itself,  e.g.  that  which  a  projectile  performs 
when  it  is  in  free  motion,  in  which  case  we  use  the  word  "  free 
dom,"  because  while  it  is  in  flight  it  is  not  urged  by  anything 
external ;  or  as  we  call  the  motion  of  a  clock  a  free  motion, 
because  it  moves  its  hands  itself,  which  therefore  do  not  require 
to  be  pushed  by  external  force  ;  so  although  the  actions  of  man 
are  necessarily  determined  by  causes  which  precede  in  time,  we 
yet  call  them  free,  because  these  causes  are  ideas  produced  by 
our  own  faculties,  whereby  desires  are  evoked  on  occasion  of 
circumstances,  and  hence  actions  are  wrought  according  to  our 
own  pleasure.  This  is  a  wretched  subterfuge  with  which  some 
persons  still  let  themselves  be  put  pff,  and  so  think  they  have 

190  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [228] 

solved,  with  a  petty  word-jugglery,  that  difficult  problem,  at  the 
solution  of  which  centuries  have  laboured  in  vain,  and  which  can 
therefore  scarcely  be  found  so  completely  on  the  surface.  In 
fact,  in  the  question  about  the  freedom  which  must  be  the 
foundation  of  all  moral  laws  and  the  consequent  responsibility 
(227),  it  does  not  matter  whether  the  principles  which  necessarily 
determine  causality  by  a  physical  law  reside  within  the  subject 
or  without  him,  or  in  the  former  case  whether  these  principles 
are  instinctive  or  are  conceived  by  reason,  if,  as  is  admitted  by 
these  men  themselves,  these  determining  ideas  have  the  ground 
of  their  existence  in  time  and  in  the  antecedent  state,  and  this 
again  in  an  antecedent,  &c.  Then  it  matters  not  that  these 
are  internal ;  it  matters  not  that  they  have  a  psychological 
and  not  a  mechanical  causality,  that  is,  produce  actions  by 
means  of  ideas,  and  not  by  bodily  movements ;  they  are  still 
determining  principles  of  the  causality  of  a  being  whose  existence 
is  determinable  in  time,  and  therefore  under  the  necessitation 
of  conditions  of  past  time,  which  therefore,  when  the  subject 
has  to  act,  are  no  longer  in  his  power.  This  may  imply  psycho 
logical  freedom  (if  we  choose  to  apply  this  term  to  a  merely 
internal  chain  of  ideas  in  the  mind),  but  it  involves  physical 
necessity,  and  therefore  leaves  no  room  for  transcendental 
freedom,  which  must  be  conceived  as  independence  on  every 
thing  empirical,  and,  consequently,  on  nature  generally,  whether 
it  is  an  object  of  the  internal  sense  considered  in  time  only,  or 
of  the  external  in  time  and  space.  Without  this  freedom 
(in  the  latter  and  true  sense),  which  alone  is  practical  a  priori, 
no  moral  law  and  no  moral  imputation  are  possible.  Just  for 
this  reason  the  necessity  of  events  in  time,  according  to  the 
physical  law  of  causality,  may  be  called  the  mechanism  of 
nature,  although  we  do  not  mean  by  this  that  things  which 
are  subject  to  it  must  be  really  material  machines.  We  look 
here  only  to  the  necessity  of  the  connexion  of  events  iu  a  time- 
series  as  it  is  developed  according  to  the  physical  law,  whether 
the  subject  in  which  (223)  this  development  takes  place  is  called 
automaton  materiale  when  the  mechanical  being  is  moved  by 
matter,  or  with  Leibnitz  spirituale  when  it  is  impelled  by 

[229]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  191 

ideas ;  and  if  the  freedom  of  our  will  were  no  other  than  the 
latter  (say  the  psychological  and  comparative,  not  also  transcen 
dental,  that  is,  absolute),  then  it  would  at  bottom  be  nothing 
better  than  the  freedom  of  a  turnspit,  which,  when  once  it  is 
wound  up,  accomplishes  its  motions  of  itself. 

Now,  in  order  to  remove  in  the  supposed  case  the  apparent 
contradiction  between  freedom  and  the  mechanism  of  nature  in 
one  and  the  same  action,  we  must  remember  what  was  said  in 
the  Critique  of  Pure  Eeason,  or  what  follows  therefrom,  viz. 
that  the  necessity  of  nature,  which  cannot  co-exist  with  the 
freedom  of  the  subject,  appertains  only  to  the  attributes  of  the 
thing  that  is  subject  to  time-conditions,  consequently  only  to 
those1  of  the  acting  subject  as  a  phenomenon  ;  that  therefore  in 
this  respect  the  determining  principles  of  every  action  of  the 
same  reside  in  what  belongs  to  past  time,  and  is  no  longer  in  his 
power  (in  which  must  be  included  his  own  past  actions  and  the 
character  that  these  may  determine  for  him  in  his  own  eyes  as 
a  phenomenon).  But  the  very  same  subject  being  on  the  other 
side  conscious  of  himself  as  a  thing  in  himself,  considers  his 
existence  also  in  so  far  as  it  is  not  subject  to  time- conditions,  and 
regards  himself  as  only  determinable  by  laws  which  he  gives 
himself  through  reason ;  and  in  this  his  existence  nothing  is 
antecedent  to  the  determination  of  his  will,  but  every  action, 
and  in  general  every  modification  of  his  existence,  varying 
according  to  his  internal  sense,  even  the  whole  series  of  his 
existence  as  a  sensible  being,  is  in  the  consciousness  of  his 
supersensible  existence  nothing  but  the  result,  and  never  to 
be  regarded  as  the  determining  principle,  of  his  causality  as 
a  noumenon.  In  this  view  now  the  rational  being  can  justly 
say  of  every  unlawful  action  that  he  performs  (220),  that  he 
could  very  well  have  left  it  undone ;  although  as  appearance 
it  is  sufficiently  determined  in  the  past,  and  in  this  respect  is 
absolutely  necessary;  for  it,  with  all  the  past  which  deter 
mines  it,  belongs  to  the  one  single  phenomenon  of  his  character 
which  he  makes  for  himself,  in  consequence  of  which  he 

1  [Read  "denen,"  not  "dem."] 

192  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [230] 

imputes  the  causality  of  those  appearances  to  himself  as  a  cause 
independent  on  sensibility. 

With  this  agree  perfectly  the  judicial  sentences  of  that 
wonderful  faculty  in  us  which  we  call  conscience.1  A  man 
may  use  as  much  art  as  he  likes  in  order  to  paint  to  himself  an 
unlawful  act  that  he  remembers,  as  an  unintentional  error,  a 
mere  oversight,  such  as  one  can  never  altogether  avoid,  and 
therefore  as  something  in  which  he  was  carried  away  by  the 
stream  of  physical  necessity,  and  thus  to  make  himself  out 
innocent,  yet  he  finds  that  the  advocate  who  speaks  in  his 
favour  can  by  no  means  silence  the  accuser  within,  if  only  he 
is  conscious  that  at  the  time  when  he  did  this  wrong  he  was  in 
his  senses,  that  is,  in  possession  of  his  freedom ;  and,  neverthe 
less,  he  accounts  for  his  error  from  some  bad  habits,  which  by 
gradual  neglect  of  attention  he  has  allowed  to  grow  upon  him 
to  such  a  degree  that  he  can  regard  his  error  as  its  natural 
consequence,  although  this  cannot  protect  him  from  the  blame 
and  reproach  which  he  casts  upon  himself.  This  is  also  the 
ground  of  repentance  for  a  long  past  action  at  every  recollection 
of  it ;  a  painful  feeling  produced  by  the  moral,  sentiment,  and 
which  is  practically  void  in  so  far  as  it  cannot  serve  to  undo 
what  has  been  done.  (Hence  Priestley,  as  a  true  and  consistent 
fatalist,  declares  it  absurd,  and  he  deserves  to  be  commended 
for  this  candour  more  than  those  who,  while  they  maintain 
the  mechanism  of  the  will  in  fact,  and  its  freedom  in  words 
only  (230),  yet  wish  it  to  be  thought  that  they  include  it  in 
their  system  of  compromise,  although  they  do  not  explain  the 
possibility  of  such  moral  imputation.)  But  the  pain  is  quite 
legitimate,  because  when  the  law  of  our  intelligible  [super 
sensible]  existence  (the  moral  law)  is  in  question,  reason 
recognizes  no  distinction  of  time,  and  only  asks  whether 
the  event  belongs  to  me,  as  my  act,  and  then  always  morally 
connects  the  same  feeling  with  it,  whether  it  has  happened 
just  now  or  long  ago.  For  in  reference  to  the  supersensible 
consciousness  of  its  existence  (i.e.  freedom)  the  life  of  sense  is 

1  [See  note  on  Conscience.] 

[23 1]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  193 

but  a  single  phenomenon,  which,  inasmuch  as  it  contains 
merely  manifestations  of  the  mental  disposition  with  regard 
to  the  moral  law  (i.e.  of  the  character),  must  be  judged  not 
according  to  the  physical  necessity  that  belongs  to  it  as  phe 
nomenon,  but  according  to  the  absolute  spontaneity  of  freedom. 
It  may  therefore  be  admitted  that  if  it  were  possible  to  have  so 
profound  an  insight  into  a  man's  mental  character  as  shown  by 
internal  as  well  as  external  actions,  as  to  know  all  its  motives, 
even  the  smallest,  and  likewise  all  the  external  occasions  that 
can  influence  them,  we  could  calculate  a  man's  conduct  for  the 
future  with  as  great  certainty  as  a  lunar  or  solar  eclipse  ;  and 
nevertheless  we  may  maintain  that  the  man  is  free.  In  fact,  if 
we  were  capable  of  a  further  glance,  namely,  an  intellectual 
intuition  of  the  same  subject  (which  indeed  is  not  granted  to 
us,  and  instead  of  it  we  have  only  the  rational  concept),  then 
we  should  perceive  that  this  whole  chain  of  appearances  in 
regard  to  all  that  concerns  the  moral  laws  depends  on  the 
spontaneity  of  the  subject  as  a  thing  in  itself,  of  the  determina 
tion  of  which  no  physical  explanation  can  be  given.  In  default 
of  this  intuition  the  moral  law  assures  us  of  this  distinction 
between  the  relation  of  our  actions  (231)  as  appearance  to  our 
sensible  nature,  and  the  relation  of  this  sensible  nature  to  the 
supersensible  substratum  in  us.  In  this  view,  which  is  natural 
to  our  reason,  though  inexplicable,  we  can  also  justify  some 
judgments  which  we  passed  with  all  conscientiousness,  and 
which  yet  at  first  sight  seem  quite  opposed  to  all  equity.  There 
are  cases  in  which  men,  even  with  the  same  education  which  has 
been  profitable  to  others,  yet  show  such  early  depravity,  and 
so  continue  to  progress  in  it  to  years  of  manhood,  that  they  are 
thought  to  be  born  villains,  and  their  character  altogether 
incapable  of  improvement ;  and  nevertheless  they  are  judged 
for  what  they  do  or  leave  undone,  they  are  reproached  for  their 
faults  as  guilty ;  nay,  they  themselves  (the  children)  regard 
these  reproaches  as  well  founded,  exactly  as  if  in  spite  of  the 
hopeless  natural  quality  of  mind  ascribed  to  them,  they  re 
mained  just  as  responsible  as  any  other  man.  This  could  not 
happen  if  we  did  not  suppose  that  whatever  springs  from  a, 


194  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [232] 

man's  choice  (as  every  action  intentionally  performed  undoubt 
edly  does)  has  as  its  foundation  a  free  causality,  which  from 
early  youth  expresses  its  character  in  its  manifestations  (i.e. 
actions).  These,  on  account  of  the  uniformity  of  conduct, 
exhibit  a  natural  connexion,  which,  however,  does  not  make  the 
vicious  quality  of  the  will  necessary,  but,  on  the  contrary,  is  the 
consequence  of  the  evil  principles  voluntarily  adopted  and  un 
changeable,  which  only  make  it  so  much  the  more  culpable  and 
deserving  of  punishment.  There  still  remains  a  difficulty  in 
the  combination  of  freedom  with  the  mechanism  of  nature  in  a 
being  belonging  to  the  world  of  sense  :  a  difficulty  which,  even 
after  all  the  foregoing  is  admitted,  threatens  freedom  with  com 
plete  destruction  (232).  But  with  this  danger  there  is  also  a 
circumstance  that  offers  hope  of  an  issue  still  favourable  to 
freedom,  namely,  that  the  same  difficulty  presses  much  more 
strongly  (in  fact,  as  we  shall  presently  see,  presses  only)  on  the 
system  that  holds  the  existence  determinable  in  time  and  space 
to  be  the  existence  of  things  in  themselves ;  it  does  not  there 
fore  oblige  us  to  give  up1  our  capital  supposition  of  the  ideality 
of  time  as  a  mere  form  of  sensible  intuition,  and  consequently 
as  a  mere  manner  of  representation  which  is  proper  to  the 
subject  as  belonging  to  the  world  of  sense ;  and  therefore  it 
only  requires  that  this  view  be  reconciled  with  this  idea  [of 

The  difficulty  is  as  follows  : — Even  if  it  is  admitted  that  the 
supersensible  subject  can  be  free  with  respect  to  a  given  action, 
although  as  a  subject  also  belonging  to  the  world  of  sense,  he  is 
under  mechanical  conditions  with  respect  to  the  same  action ; 
still,  as  soon  as  we  allow  that  God  as  universal  first  cause  is  also 
the  cause  of  the  existence  of  substance  (a  proposition  which  can 
never  be  given  up  without  at  the  same  time  giving  up  the 
notion  of  God  as  the  Being  of  all  beings,  and  therewith  giving 
up  His  all-sufficiency,  on  which  everything  in  theology  depends), 
it  seerns  as  if  we  must  admit  that  a  man's  actions  have  their 
determining  principle  in  something  1  chick  is  wholly  out  of  his 

'  [Reading  "  aufeugebeii.''] 

[233]  PUKE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  195 

power,  namely,  in  the  causality  of  a  Supreme  Being  distinct 
from  himself,  and  on  whom  his  own  existence  and  the  whole 
determination  of  his  causality  are  absolutely  dependent.     In 
point  of  fact,  if  a  man's  actions  as  belonging  to  his  modifications 
in  time  were  not  merely  modifications  of  him  as  appearance, 
but  as  a  thing  in  itself,  freedom  could  not  be  saved.     Man 
would  be  a  marionette  or  an  automaton,  like    Vaucanson's,1 
prepared  and  wound  up  by  the  Supreme  Artist.    Self-conscious 
ness  would  indeed  make  him  a  thinking  automaton  ;  but  the 
consciousness  of  his  own  spontaneity  would  be  mere  delusion  if 
this  were  mistaken  for  freedom  (233),  and  it  would  deserve  this 
name  only  in  a  comparative  sense,  since,  although  the  proximate 
determining  causes  of  its  motion  and  a  long  series  of  their 
determining  causes  are  internal,  yet  the  last  and  highest  is 
found  in  a  foreign  land.     Therefore  I  do  not  see  how  those 
who   still   insist   on   regarding   time   and  space  as  attributes 
belonging  to  the  existence  of  things   inthemselves,  can  avoid 
admitting  the  fatality  of  actions  ;  or  if  (like  the  otherwise  acute 
Mendelssohn2)  they  allow   them  to  be  conditions  necessarily 
belonging  to  the  existence  of  finite  and  derived  beings,  but  not 
to  that  of  the  infinite  Supreme  Being,  I  do  not  see  on  what 
ground  they  can  justify  such  a  distinction,  or,  indeed,  how  they 
can  avoid  the  contradiction  that  meets  them,  when  they  hold 
that  existence  in  time  is  an  attribute  necessarily  belonging  to 
finite  things  in  themselves,  whereas  God  is  the  cause  of  this 
existence,  but  cannot  be  the  cause  of  time  (or  space)  itself  (since 
this  must  [on  this  hypothesis]  be  presupposed  as  a  necessary 

1  [Vaucanson  constructed  an  automaton  nute-player  which  imitated 
accurately  the  movements  and  the  effects  of  a  genuine  performer,  and 
subsequently  a  mechanical  duck  which  swam,  dived,  quacked,  took  barley 
from  the  hand,  ate,  drank,  digested,  dressed  its  wings,  &c.,  quite  natu 
rally.  This  was  exhibited  in  Paris  in  1741.  These  automata  are  described 
by  D'Alembert  in  the  Eticyclopedie,  Arts.  Audroide  and  Automata :  cf. 
also  Condorcet,  Eloyes,  torn,  i.,  p.  643,  ed.  1847.] 

-  [Moses  Mendelssohn,  a  distinguished  philosopher,  grandfather  of  the 
musical  composer.  He  is  said  to  have  been  the  prototype  of  Lessing's 
Nathan  der  Weise.~\ 


19G  THE   ANALYTIC    OF  [234J 

d  priori  condition  of  the  existence  of  things) ;  and  consequently 
as  regards  the  existence  of  these  things  His  causality  must  be 
subject  to  conditions,  and  even  to  the  condition  of  time ;  and 
this  would  inevitably  bring  in  everything  contradictory  to  the 
notions  of  His  infinity  and  independence.  On  the  other  hand, 
it  is  quite  easy  for  us  to  draw  the  distinction  between  the 
attribute  of  the  divine  existence  of  being  independent  on  all 
time-conditions,  and  that  of  a  being  of  the  world  of  sense,  the 
distinction  being  that  between  the  existence  of  a  being  in  itself 
and  that  of  a  thing  in  appearance.  Hence,  if  this  ideality  of 
time  and  space  is  not  adopted,  nothing  remains  but  Spinozism, 
in  which  space  and  time  are  essential  attributes  of  the  Supreme 
Being  Himself,  and  the  things  dependent  on  Him  (ourselves, 
therefore,  included]  are  not  substances,  but  merely  accidents 
inhering  in  Him ;  since,  if  these  things  as  His  effects  (234)  exist 
in  time  only,  this  being  the  condition  of  their  existence  in  them 
selves,  then  the  actions  of  these  beings  must  be  simply  His 
actions  which  He  performs  in  some  place  and  time.  Thus, 
Spinozism,  in  spite  of  the  absurdity  of  its  fundamental  idea, 
argues  more  consistently  than  the  creation  theory  can,  when 
beings  assumed  to  be  substances,  and  beings  in  themselves 
existing  in  time,  are  regarded  as  effects  of  a  Supreme  Cause,  and 
yet  as  not  [belonging]  to  Him  and  His  action,  but  as  separate 

The  above-mentioned  difficulty  is  resolved  briefly  and  clearly 
as  follows : — If  existence  in  time  is  a  mere  sensible  mode  of 
representation  belonging  to  thinking  beings  in  the  world,  and 
consequently  does  not  apply  to  them  as  things  in  themselves, 
then  the  creation  of  these  beings  is  a  creation  of  things  in  them 
selves,  since  the  notion  of  creation  does  not  belong  to  the 
sensible  form  of  representation  of  existence  or  to  causality,  but 
can  only  be  referred  to  noumena.  Consequently,  when  I  say  of 
beings  in  the  world  of  sense  that  they  are  created,  I  so  far 
regard  them  as  noumena.  As  it  would  be  a  contradiction,  there 
fore,  to  say  that  God  is  a  creator  of  appearances,  so  also  it  is  a 
contradiction  to  say  that  as  creator  He  is  the  cause  of  actions  in 
the  world  of  sense,  and  therefore  as  appearances,  although  He 

[236J  PURE    PRACTICAL   REASON.  197 

is  the  cause  of  the  existence  of  the  acting  beings  (which  are 
noumena).  If  now  it  is  possible  to  affirm  freedom  in  spite  of 
the  natural  mechanism  of  actions  as  appearances  (by  regarding 
existence  in  time  as  something  that  belongs  only  to  appearances, 
not  to  things  in  themselves),  then  the  circumstance  that  the 
acting  beings  are  creatures  cannot  make  the  slightest  difference, 
since  creation  concerns  their  supersensible  and  not  their  sensible 
existence,  and  therefore  cannot  be  regarded  as  the  determining 
principle  of  the  appearances.  It  would  be  quite  different  if  the 
beings  in  the  world  as  things  in  themselves  (235)  existed  in  time, 
since  in  that  case  the  creator  of  substance  would  be  at  the  same 
time  the  author  of  the  whole  mechanism  of  this  substance. 

Of  so  great  importance  is  the  separation  of  time  (as  well  as 
space)  from  the  existence  of  things  in  themselves  which  was 
effected  in  the  Critique  of  the  Pure  Speculative  Keason. 

It  may  be  said  that  the  solution  here  proposed  involves 
great  difficulty  in  itself,  and  is  scarcely  susceptible  of  a  lucid 
exposition.  But  is  any  other  solution  that  has  been  attempted, 
or  that  may  be  attempted,  easier  and  more  intelligible  ?  Rather 
might  we  say  that  the  dogmatic  teachers  of  metaphysics  have 
shown  more  shrewdness  than  candour  in  keeping  this  difficult 
point  out  of  sight  as  much  as  possible,  in  the  hope  that  if  they 
said  nothing  about  it,  probably  no  one  would  think  of  it.  If 
science  is  to  be  advanced,  all  difficulties  must  be  laid  open,  and 
we  must  even  search  for  those  that  are  hidden,  for  every  diffi 
culty  calls  forth  a  remedy,  which  cannot  be  discovered  without 
science  gaining  either  in  extent  or  in  exactness ;  and  thus  even 
obstacles  become  means  of  increasing  the  thoroughness  of  science. 
On  the  other  hand,  if  the  difficulties  are  intentionally  concealed, 
or  merely  removed  by  palliatives,  then  sooner  or  later  they  burst 
out  into  incurable  mischiefs,  which  bring  science  to  ruin  in  an 
absolute  scepticism. 

Since  it  is,  properly  speaking,  the  notion  of  freedom  alone 
amongst  all  the  ideas  of  pure  speculative  reason  that  so  greatly 
enlarges  our  knowledge  in  the  sphere  of  the  supersensible  (230), 
though  only  of  our  practical  knowledge,  I  ask  myself  why  it 

198  THE   ANALYTIC   OF  [236] 

exclusively  possesses  so  great  fertility,  whereas  the  others  only 
designate  the  vacant  space  for  possible  beings  of  the  pure  under 
standing,  but  are  unable  by  any  means  to  define  the  concept  of 
them.    I  presently  find  that  as  I  cannot  think  anything  without 
a  category,  I  must  first  look  for  a  category  for  the  Rational  Idea 
of  freedom  with  which  I  am  now  concerned ;  and  this  is  the 
category  of  causality ;    and  although  freedom,  a  concept  of  the 
reason,  being  a  transcendent  concept,  cannot  have  any  intuition 
corresponding  to  it,  yet  the  concept  of  the  understanding — for  the 
synthesis  of  which  the  former1  demands  the  unconditioned — 
(namely,  the  concept  of  causality)  must  have  a  sensible  intuition 
given,  by  which  first  its  objective  reality  is  assured.     Now,  the 
categories  are  all  divided  into  two  classes — the  mathematical, 
which   concern  the  unity   of   synthesis   in  the  conception  of 
objects,  and  the  dynamical,  which  refer  to  the  unity  of  synthesis 
in  the  conception  of  the  existence  of  objects.    The  former  (those 
of  magnitude  and  quality)  always  contain  a  synthesis  of  the 
homogeneous ;  and  it  is  not  possible  to  find  in  this  the  uncon 
ditioned  antecedent  to  what  is  given  in  sensible  intuition  as 
conditioned  in  space  and  time,  as  this  would  itself  have  to 
belong  to  space  and  time,  and  therefore  be  again  still  con 
ditioned.2  Whence  it  resulted  in  the  Dialectic  of  Pure  Theoretic 
Reason    that    the   opposite  methods    of   attaining   the  uncon 
ditioned  and  the  totality  of  the  conditions  were  both  wrong. 
The  categories  of  the  second  class  (those  of  causality  and  of  the 
necessity  of  a  thing)  did  not  require  this  homogeneity  (of  the 
conditioned  and  the  condition  in  synthesis),  since  here  what  we 
have  to  explain  is  not  how  the  intuition  is  compounded  from  a 

'  [The  original  is  somewhat  ambiguous  ;  it  has  been  suggested  that  "the 
former"  refers  to  the  Understanding  ("  Verstand "  in  "  Verstandes- 
begviff ").  I  am  satisfied  that  it  refers  to  "  Vernunftbegriff,"  for  it  is  not  the 
Understanding,  but  the  Reason  that  seeks  the  unconditioned.  Compare 
Kritik  der  R.V.,  p.  2(52  (326).  "The  transcendental  concept  of  the  reason 
always  aims  at  absolute  totality  in  the  synthesis  of  the  conditions;  and  never 
rests  except  in  the  absolutely  unconditioned."  (Meiklejohn,  p.  228).] 

2  [Rosenkranz  erroneously  reads  "unbedingt,"  "unconditioned";  and 
"  musste  "  for  "miisste."] 

[238]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  199 

manifold  in  it,  but  only  how  the  existence  of  the  conditioned 
object  corresponding  to  it  is  added  to  the  existence  of  the 
condition  (237)  (added,  namely,  in  the  understanding  as  con 
nected  therewith) ;  and  in  that  case  it  was  allowable  to  suppose 
in  the  supersensible  world  the  unconditioned  antecedent  to  the 
altogether  conditioned  in  the  world  of  sense  (both  as  regards 
the  causal  connexion  and  the  contingent  existence  of  things  them 
selves),  although  this  unconditioned  remained  indeterminate, 
and  to  make  the  synthesis  transcendent.  Hence,  it  was  found 
in  the  Dialectic  of  the  Pure  Speculative  Beason  that  the  two 
apparently  opposite  methods  of  obtaining  for  the  conditioned 
the  unconditioned  were  not  really  contradictory,  e.g.  in  the 
synthesis  of  causality  to  conceive  for  the  conditioned  in  the 
series  of  causes  and  effects  of  the  sensible  world,  a  causality 
which  has  no  sensible  condition,  and  that  the  same  action  which, 
as  belonging  to  the  world  of  sense,  is  always  sensibly  con 
ditioned,  that  is,  mechanically  necessary,  yet  at  the  same  time 
may  be  derived  from  a  causality  not  sensibly  conditioned — 
being  the  causality  of  the  acting  being  as  belonging  to  the 
supersensible  world — and  may  consequently  be  conceived  as 
free.  Now,  the  only  point  in  question  was  to  change  this  may 
be  into  is ;  that  is,  that  we  should  be  able  to  show  in  an  actual 
case,  as  it  were  by  a  fact,  that  certain  actions  imply  -such 
a  causality  (namely,  the  intellectual,  sensibly  unconditioned], 
whether  they  are  actual  or  only  commanded,  that  is,  objectively 
necessary  in  a  practical  sense.  "We  could  not  hope  to  find  this 
connexion  in  actions  actually  given  in  experience  as  events  of 
the  sensible  world,  since  causality  with  freedom  must  always  be 
sought  outside  the  world  of  sense  in  the  world  of  intelligence. 
But  things  of  sense  are  the  only  things  offered  to  our  perception 
and  observation.  Hence,  nothing  remained  'but  to  find  an 
incontestable  objective  principle  of  causality  which  excludes  all 
sensible  conditions :  that  is,  a  principle  in  which  reason  does  not 
appeal  further  to  something  else  as  a  determining  ground  of  its 
causality  (238),  but  contains  this  determining  ground  itself  by 
means  of  that  principle,  and  in  which  therefore  it  is  itself 
as  pure  reason  practical.  Now,  this  principle  had  not  to  be 


searched  for  or  discovered ;  it  had  long  been  in  the  reason  of  all 
men,  and  incorporated  in  their  nature,  and  is  the  principle  of 
morality.  Therefore,  that  unconditioned  causality,  with  the 
faculty  of  it,  namely,  freedom,  is  no  longer  merely  indefinitely 
and  problematically  thought  (this  speculative  reason  could  prove 
to  be  feasible),  but  is  even  as  regards  the  law  of  its  causality 
definitely  and  assertorially  known ;  and  with  it  the  fact  that  a 
being  (I  myself)  belonging  to  the  world  of  sense,  belongs  also 
to  the  supersensible  world,  this  is  also  positively  known,  and 
thus  the  reality  of  the  supersensible  world  is  established,  and  in 
practical  respects  definitely  given,  and  this  definiteness,  which 
for  theoretical  purposes  would  be  transcendent,  is  for  practical 
purposes  immanent.  We  could  not,  however,  make  a  similar 
step  as  regards  the  second  dynamical  idea,  namely,  that  of  a 
necessary  being.  We  could  not  rise  to  it  from  the  sensible  world 
without  the  aid  of  the  first  dynamical  idea.  For  if  we  at 
tempted  to  do  so,  we  should  have  ventured  to  leave  at  a  bound 
all  that  is  given  to  us,  and  to  leap  to  that  of  which  nothing  is 
given  us  that  can  help  us  to  effect  the  connexion  of  such  a 
supersensible  being  with  the  world  of  sense  (since  the  necessary 
being  would  have  to  be  known  as  given  owtside.  ourselves).  On 
the  other  hand,  it  is  now  obvious  that  this  connexion  is  quite 
possible  in  relation  to  our  own  subject,  inasmuch  as  I  know 
myself  to  be  on  the  one  side  as  an  intelligible  [supersensible] 
being  determined  by  the  moral  law  (by  means  of  freedom),  and 
on  the  other  side  as  acting  in  the  world  of  sense.  It  is  the 
concept  of  freedom  alone  that  enables  us  to  find  the  uncon 
ditioned  and  intelligible  [supersensible]  for  the  conditioned 
and  sensible  without  going  out  of  ourselves  (239).  For  it  is  our 
own  reason  that  by  means  of  the  supreme  and  unconditional 
practical  law  knows  that  itself  and  the  being  that  is  conscious 
of  this  law  (our  own  person)  belongs  to  the  pure  world  of  under 
standing,  and  moreover  defines  the  manner  in  which,  as  such, 
it  can  be  active.  In  this  way  it  can  be  understood  why  in  the 
whole  faculty  of  reason  it  is  the  practical  reason  only  that  can 
help  us  to  pass  beyond  the  world  pf  sense,  and  give  us  know 
ledge  of  a  supersensible  order  and  connexion,  which,  however, 

[240]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  201 

for  this  very  reason  cannot  be  extended  further  than  is  necessary 
for  pure  practical  purposes. 

Let  me  be  permitted  on  this  occasion  to  make  one  more 
remark,  namely,  that  every  step  that  we  make  with  pure  reason, 
even  in  the  practical  sphere  where  no  attention  is  paid  to  subtle 
speculation,  nevertheless  accords  with  all  the  material  points  of 
the  Critique  of  the  Theoretical  Keason  as  closely  and  directly  as 
if  each  step  had  been  thought  out  with  deliberate  purpose  to 
establish  this  confirmation.  Such  a  thorough  agreement,  wholly 
unsought  for,  and  quite  obvious  (as  anyone  can  convince  him 
self,  if  he  will  only  carry  moral  inquiries  up  to  their  principles), 
between  the  most  important  proposition  of  practical  reason, 
and  the  often  seemingly  too  subtle  and  needless  remarks  of  the 
Critique  of  the  Speculative  Reason,  occasions  surprise  and 
astonishment,  and  confirms  the  maxim  already  recognized  and 
praised  by  others,  namely,  that  in  every  scientific  inquiry  we 
should  pursue  our  way  steadily  with  all  possible  exactness  and 
frankness,  without  caring  for  any  objections  that  may  be  raised 
from  outside  its  sphere,  but,  as  far  as  we  can,  to  carry  out 
our  inquiry  truthfully  and  completely  by  itself.  Frequent 
observation  has  convinced  me  that  when  such  researches  are 
concluded,  that  which  in  one  part  of  them  appeared  to  me  very 
questionable  (240),  considered  in  relation  to  other  extraneous 
doctrines,  when  I  left  this  doubtfulness  out  of  sight  for  a  time, 
and  only  attended  to  the  business  in  hand  until  it  was  com 
pleted,  at  last  was  unexpectedly  found  to  agree  perfectly  with 
wrhat  had  been  discovered  separately  without  the  least  regard  to 
those  doctrines,  and  without  any  partiality  or  prejudice  for  them. 
Authors  would  save  themselves  many  errors  and  much  labour 
lost  (because  spent  on  a  delusion)  if  they  could  only  resolve  to 
go  to  work  with  more  frankness. 

(241)  BOOK  II. 




PURE  reason  always  has  its  dialectic,  whether  it  is  considered 
in  its  speculative  or  its  practical  employment;  for  it 
requires  the  absolute  totality  of  the  conditions  of  what  is 
given  conditioned,  and  this  can  only  be  found  in  things  in 
themselves.  But  as  all  conceptions  of  things  in  themselves 
must  be  referred  to  intuitions,  and  with  us  men  these  can 
never  be  other  than  sensible,  and  hence  can  never  enable  us 
to  know  objects  as  things  in  themselves  but  only  as  appear 
ances,  and  since  the  unconditioned  can  never  be  found  in  this 
chain  of  appearances  which  consists"  only  of  conditioned  and 
conditions ;  thus  from  applying  this  rational  idea  of  the  totality 
of  the  conditions  (in  other  words,  of  the  unconditioned)  to 
appearances  there  arises  an  inevitable  illusion,  as  if  these  latter 
were  things  in  themselves  (242)  (for  in  the  absence  of  a  warning 
critique  they  are  always  regarded  as  such).  This  illusion 
would  never  be  noticed  as  delusive  if  it  did  not  betray  itself  by 
a  conflict  of  reason  with  itself,  when  it  applies  to  appearances 
its  fundamental  principle  of  presupposing  the  unconditioned  to 
everything  conditioned.  By  this,  however,  reason  is  compelled 
to  trace  this  illusion  to  its  source,  and  search  how  it  can  be 
removed,  and  this  can  only  be  done  by  a  complete  critical 
examination  of  the  whole  pure  faculty  of  reason ;  so  that  the 


antinomy  of  the  pure  reason  which  is  manifest  in  its  dialectic 
is  in  fact  the  most  beneficial  error  into  which  human  reason 
could  ever  have  fallen,  since  it  at  last  drives  us  to  search  for 
the  key  to  escape  from  this  labyrinth ;  and  when  this  key  is 
found,  it  further  discovers  that  which  we  did  not  seek  but  yet 
had  need  of,  namely,  a  view  into  a  higher  and  an  immutable 
order  of  things,  in  which  we  even  now  are,  and  in  which  we 
are  thereby  enabled  by  definite  precepts  to  continue  to  live 
according  to  the  highest  dictates  of  reason. 

It  may  be  seen  in  detail  in  the  Critique  of  Pure  Eeason  how 
in  its  speculative  employment  this  natural  dialectic  is  to  be 
solved,  and  how  the  error  which  arises  from  a  very  natural 
illusion  may  be  guarded  against.  But  reason  in  its  practical 
use  is  not  a  whit  better  off.  As  pure  practical  reason,  it  like 
wise  seeks  to  find  the  unconditioned  for  the  practically  con 
ditioned  (which  rests  on  inclinations  and  natural  wants),  and 
this  not  as  the  determining  principle  of  the  will,  but  even  when 
this  is  given  (in  the  moral  law)  it  seeks  the  unconditioned 
totality  of  the  object  of  pure  practical  reason  under  the  name 
of  the  Summum  Bonum. 

To  define  this  idea  practically,  i.e.  sufficiently  for  the  max 
ims  of  our  rational  conduct,  (243)  is  the  business  of  practical 
wisdom  [  Weisheitslehre],  and  this  again  as  a  science  is  philosophy, 
in  the  sense  in  which  the  word  was  understood  by  the  ancients, 
with  whom  it  meant  instruction  in  the  conception  in  which  the 
summum  bonum  was  to  be  placed,  and  the  conduct  by  which  it 
was  to  be  obtained.  It  would  be  well  to  leave  this  word  in  its 
ancient  signification  as  a  doctrine  of  the  summum  bomim,  so  far 
as  reason  endeavours  to  make  this  into  a  science.  For  on  the 
one  hand  the  restriction  annexed  would  suit  the  Greek  expres 
sion  (which  signifies  the  love  of  wisdom],  and  yet  at  the  same 
time  would  be  sufficient  to  embrace  under  the  name  of  philo 
sophy  the  love  of  science:  that  is  to  say,  of  all  speculative 
rational  knowledge,  so  far  as  it  is  serviceable  to  reason,  both  for 
that  conception  and  also  for  the  practical  principle  determining 
our  conduct,  without  letting  out  of  sight  the  main  end,  on 
account  of  which  alone  it  can  be  called  a  doctrine  of  practical 

204  DIALECTIC   OF  ['244] 

wisdom.  On  the  other  hand,  it  would  be  no  harm  to  deter  the 
self-conceit  of  one  who  ventures  to  claim  the  title  of  philosopher 
by  holding  before  him  in  the  very  definition  a  standard  of  self- 
estimation  which  would  very  much  lower  his  pretensions.  For 
a  teacher  of  wisdom  would  mean  something  more  than  a  scholar 
who  has  not  come  so  far  as  to  guide  himself,  much  less  to  guide 
others,  with  certain  expectation  of  attaining  so  high  an  end :  it 
would  mean  a  master  in  the  knowledge  of  wisdom,  which  implies 
more  than  a  modest  man  would  claim  for  himself.  Thus 
philosophy  as  well  as  wisdom  would  always  remain  an  ideal, 
which  objectively  is  presented  complete  in  reason  alone,  while 
subjectively  for  the  person  it  is  only  the  goal  of  his  unceasing 
endeavours,  and  no  one  would  be  justified  in  professing  to  be 
in  possession  of  it  so  as  to  assume  the  name  of  philosopher,  who 
could  not  also  show  its  infallible  effects  in  his  own  person  as  an 
example  (244)  (in  his  self-mastery  and  the  unquestioned  interest 
that  he  takes  pre-eminently  in  the  general  good),  and  this  the 
ancients  also  required  as  a  condition  of  deserving  that  honour 
able  title. 

We  have  another  preliminary  remark  to  make  respecting 
the  dialectic  of  the  pure  practical  reason,  on  the  point  of  the 
definition  of  the  summurn  bonum  (a  successful  solution  of  which 
dialectic  would  lead  us  to  expect,  as  in  case  of  that  of  the 
theoretical  reason,  the  most  beneficial  effects,  inasmuch  as  the 
self-contradictions  of  pure  practical  reason  honestly  stated,  and 
not  concealed,  force  us  to  undertake  a  complete  critique  of  this 

The  moral  law  is  the  sole  determining  principle  of  a  pure 
will.  But  since  this  is  merely  formal  (viz.  as  prescribing  only 
the  form  of  the  maxim  as  universally  legislative),  it  abstracts 
as  a  determining  principle  from  all  matter — that  is  to  say,  from 
every  object  of  volition.  Hence,  though  the  snmmum  bonum 
may  be  the  whole  object  of  a  pure  practical  reason,  i.e.  a  pure 
will,  yet  it  is  not  on  that  account  to  be  regarded  as  its  deter 
mining  principle ;  and  the  moral  law  alone  must  be  regarded  as 
the  principle  on  which  that  and  its  realization  or  promotion  are 
aimed  at.  This  remark  is  important  in  so  delicate  a  case  as  the 

[245]  PURE    PRACTICAL   REASON.  205 

determination  of  moral  principles,  where  the  slightest  misinter 
pretation  perverts  men's  minds.  For  it  will  have  been  seen 
from  the  Analytic,  that  if  we  assume  any  object  under  the 
name  of  a  good  as  a  determining  principle  of  the  will  prior  to 
the  moral  law,  and  then  deduce  from  it  the  supreme  practical 
principle,  this  would  always  introduce  heteronomy,  and  crush 
out  the  moral  principle. 

It  is,  however,  evident  that  if  the  notion  of  the  summum 
bonum  includes  that  of  the  moral  law  (245)  as  its  supreme  con 
dition,  then  the  summum  bonum  would  not  merely  be  an  object, 
but  the  notion  of  it  and  the  conception  of  its  existence  as  possible 
by  our  own  practical  reason  would  likewise  be  the  determining 
principle  of  the  will,  since  in  that  case  the  will  is  in  fact  deter 
mined  by  the  moral  law  which  is  already  included  in  this 
conception,  and  by  no  other  object,  as  the  principle  of  autonomy 
requires.  This  order  of  the  conceptions  of  determination  of 
the  will  must  not  be  lost  sight  of,  as  otherwise  we  should 
misunderstand  ourselves,  and  think  we  had  fallen  into  a 
contradiction,  while  everything  remains  in  perfect  harmony. 

206  DIALECTIC   OF  [24?] 

(246)  CHAPTER  II. 


THE  conception  of  the  summum  itself  contains  an  ambiguity 
which  might  occasion  needless  disputes  if  we  did  not  attend  to 
it.     The  summum  may  mean  either  the  supreme  (supremum}  or 
the  perfect  (consummatum).     The  former  is  that  condition  which 
is    itself   unconditioned,  i.e.   is    not  subordinate   to   any  other 
{originarium} ;  the  second  is  that  whole  which  is  not  a  part  of 
a  greater  whole  of  the  same  kind  (perfectissimum}.     It  has  been 
shown  in  the  Analytic  that  virtue  (as  worthiness  to  be  happy) 
is  the  supreme  condition  of  all  that  can  appear  to  us  desirable, 
and  consequently  of  all  our  pursuit  of  happiness,  and  is  there 
fore  the  supreme  good.     But  it  does  not  follow  that  it  is  the 
whole  and  perfect  good  as  the  object  of  the  desires  of  rational 
finite  beings  ;    for  this  requires  happiness  also,  and  that  not 
merely  in  the  partial  eyes  of  the  person  who  makes  himself 
an  end,  but  even  in  the  judgment   of   an   impartial    reason, 
which  regards  persons  in  general  as  ends  in  themselves.      For 
to  need  happiness,  to  deserve  it  (247),  and  yet  at  the  same  time 
not  to  participate  in  it,  cannot  be  consistent  with  the  perfect 
volition  of  a  rational  being  possessed  at  the  same  time  of  all 
power,  if,  for  the  sake  of  experiment,  we  conceive  such  a  being. 
Now  inasmuch  as  virtue  and  happiness  together  constitute  the 
possession  of  the  summum  bonum  in  a  person,  and  the  distribution 
of  happiness  in  exact  proportion  to  morality  (which  is  the  worth 
of  the  person,  and  his  worthiness  to  be  happy)  constitutes  the 
summum  bonum  of  a  possible  world ;  hence  this  summum  bonum 
expresses  the  whole,  the  perfect  good,  in  which,  however,  virtue 
as  the  condition  is  always  the  supreme  good,  since  it  has  no 
condition  above  it ;  whereas  happiness,  while  it  is  pleasant  to 
the  possessor  of  it,  is  not*  of  itself  absolutely  and  in  all  respects 

[248]  PUKE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  207 

good,  but  always  presupposes  morally  right  behaviour  as  its 

When  two  elements  are  necessarily  united  in  one  concept, 
they  must  be  connected  as  reason  and  consequence,  and  this 
either  so  that  their  unity  is  considered  as  analytical  (logical 
connexion),  or  as  synthetical  (Teal  connexion) — the  former 
following  the  law  of  identity,  the  latter  that  of  causality.  The 
connexion  of  virtue  and  happiness  may  therefore  be  understood 
in  two  ways :  either  the  endeavour  to  be  virtuous  and  the 


rational  pursuit  of  happiness  are  not  two  distinct  actions,  but 
absolutely  identical,  in  which  case  no  maxim  need  be  made  the 
principle  of  the  former,  other  than  what  serves  for  the  latter ; 
or  the  connexion  consists  in  this,  that  virtue  produces  happiness 
as  something  distinct  from  the  consciousness  of  virtue,  as  a 
cause  produces  an  effect. 

The  ancient  Greek  schools  were,  properly  speaking,  only 
two,  and  in  determining  the  conception  of  the  summum  bonum 
these  followed  in  fact  one  and  the  same  method,  inasmuch  as 
they  did  not  allow  virtue  and  happiness  to  be  regarded  as  two 
distinct  elements  of  the  summum  bonum,  and  consequently 
sought  (243)  the  unity  of  the  principle  by  the  rule  of  identity ; 
but  they  differed  as  to  which  of  the  two  was  to  be  taken  as 
the  fundamental  notion.  The  Epicurean  said  :  To  be  conscious 
that  one's  maxims  lead  to  happiness  is  virtue  ;  the  Stoic  said  : 
To  be  conscious  of  one's  virtue  is  happiness.  With  the  former, 
Prudence  was  equivalent  to  morality;  with  the  latter,  who 
chose  a  higher  designation  for  virtue,  morality  alone  was  true 

While  we  must  admire  the  men  who  in  such  early  times 
tried  all  imaginable  ways  of  extending  the  domain  of  philo 
sophy,  we  must  at  the  same  time  lament  that  their  acuteness 
was  unfortunately  misapplied  in  trying  to  trace  out  identity 
between  two  extremely  heterogeneous  notions,  those  of  happi 
ness  and  virtue.  But  it  agrees  with  the  dialectical  spirit  of 
their  times  (and  subtle  minds  are  even  now  sometimes  misled 
in  the  same  way)  to  get  rid  of  irreconcilable  differences  in 
principle  by  seeking  to  change  them  into  a  mere  contest  about 

208  DIALECTIC    OF  [249] 

words,  and  thus  apparently  working  out  the  identity  of  the 
notion  under  different  names,  and  this  usually  occurs  in  cases 
where  the  combination  of  heterogeneous  principles  lies  so  deep 
or  so  high,  or  would  require  so  complete  a  transformation  of  the 
doctrines  assumed- in  the  rest  of  the  philosophical  system,  that 
men  are  afraid  to  penetrate  deeply  into  the  real  difference,  and 
prefer  treating  it  as  a  difference  in  matters  of  form. 

While  both  schools  sought  to  trace  out  the  identity  of  the 
practical  principles  of  virtue  and  happiness,  they  were  not 
agreed  as  to  the  way  in  which  they  tried  to  force  this  identity, 
but  were  separated  infinitely  from  one  another,  the  one  placing 
its  principle  on  the  side  of  sense,  the  other  on  that  of  reason ; 
the  one  in  the  consciousness  of  sensible  wants,  the  other  in  the 
independence  of  practical  reason  (249)  on  all  sensible  grounds  of 
determination.  According  to  the  Epicurean  the  notion  of  virtue 
was  already  involved  in  the  maxim  :  To  promote  one's  own 
happiness ;  according  to  the  Stoics,  on  the  other  hand,  the  feel 
ing  of  happiness  was  already  contained  in  the  consciousness  of 
virtue.  Now  whatever  is  contained  in  another  notion  is  identical 
with  part  of  the  containing  notion,  but  not  with  the  whole,  and 
moreover  two  wholes  may  be  specifically  distinct,  although  they 
consist  of  the  same  parts,  namely,  if  the  parts  are  united  into  a 
whole  in  totally  different  ways.  The  Stoic  maintained  that 
virtue  was  the  whole  summum  bonum,  and  happiness  only  the 
consciousness  of  possessing  it,  as  making  part  of  the  state  of  the 
subject.  The  Epicurean  maintained  that  happiness  was  the 
wJiole  summum  bonum,  and  virtue  only  the  form  of  the  maxim 
for  its  pursuit,  viz.  the  rational  use  of  the  means  for  attain 
ing  it. 

Now  it  is  clear  from  the  Analytic  that  the  maxims  of  virtue 
and  those  of  private  happiness  are  quite  heterogeneous  as  to 
their  supreme  practicaltprinciple ;  and  although  they  belong  to 
one  summum  bonum  which  together  they  make  possible,  yet  they 
are  so  far  from  coinciding  that  they  restrict  and  check  one 
another  very  much  in  the  same  subject.  Thus  the  question, 
How  is  the  summum  bonum  practically  possible  ?  still  remains  an 
unsolved  problem,  notwithstanding  all  the  attempts  at  coalition 

[25 1]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  209 

that  have  hitherto  been  made.  The  Analytic  has,  however, 
shown  what  it  is  that  makes  the  problem  difficult  to  solve ; 
namely,  that  happiness  and  morality  are  two  specifically  distinct 
elements  of  the  summum  bonum,  and  therefore  their  combination 
cannot  be  analytically  cognized  (as  if  the  man  that  seeks  his  own 
happiness  should  find  by  mere  analysis  of  his  conception  that  in 
so  acting  he  is  virtuous,  or  as  if  the  man  that  follows  virtue 
should  in  the  consciousness  of  such  conduct  find  that  he  is 
already  happy  ipso  facto)  (250,)  but  must  be  a  synthesis  of  con 
cepts.  Now  since  this  combination  is  recognized  as  a  priori, 
and  therefore  as  practically  necessary,  and  consequently  not  as 
derived  from  experience,  so  that  the  possibility  of  the  summum 
bonum  does  not  rest  on  any  empirical  principle,  it  follows 
that  the  deduction  [legitimation]  of  this  concept  must  be  tran 
scendental.  It  is  d  priori  (morally)  necessary  to  produce  the 
summum  bonum  by  freedom  of  will :  therefore  the  condition  of  its 
possibility  must  rest  solely  on  d  priori  principles  of  cognition. 

I. — The  Antinomy  of  Practical  Reason. 

In  the  summum  bonum  which  is  practical  for  us,  i.e.  to  be 
realized  by  our  will,  virtue  and  happiness  are  thought  as  neces 
sarily  combined,  so  that  the  one  cannot  be  assumed  by  pure 
practical  reason  without  the  other  also  being  attached  to  it. 
Now  this  combination  (like  every  other)  is  either  analytical  or 
synthetical.  It  has  been  shown  that  it  cannot  be  analytical ;  it 
must  then  be  synthetical,  and,  more  particularly,  must  be  con 
ceived  as  the  connexion  of  cause  and  effect,  since  it  concerns  a 
practical  good,  i.e.  one  that  is  possible  by  means  of  action ; 
consequently  either  the  desire  of  happiness  must  be  the  motive 
to  maxims  of  virtue,  or  the  maxim  of  virtue  must  be  the 
efficient  cause  of  happiness.  The  first  is  absolutely  impossible, 
because  (as  was  proved  in  the  Analytic)  maxims  which  place 
the  determining  principle  (251)  of  the  will  in  the  desire 
of  personal  happiness  are  not  moral  at  all,  and  no  virtue 
can  be  founded  on  them.  But  the  second  is  also  impossible, 
because  the  practical  connexion  of  causes  and  effects  in  the 
world,  as  the  result  of  the  determination  of  the  will,  does  not 


210  DIALECTIC   OF  [252] 

depend  upon  the  moral  dispositions  of  the  will,  but  on  the 
knowledge  of  the  laws  of  nature  and  the  physical  power  to  use 
them  for  one's  purposes  ;  consequently  we  cannot  expect  in  the 
world  by  the  most  punctilious  observance  of  the  moral  laws  any 
necessary  connexion  of  happiness  with  virtue  adequate  to  the 
summum  bonum.  Now  as  the  promotion  of  this  summum  bonum, 
the  conception  of  which  contains  this  connexion,  is  d  priori  a 
necessary  object  of  our  will,  and  inseparably  attached  to  the 
moral  law,  the  impossibility  of  the  former  must  prove  the 
falsity  of  the  latter.  If  then  the  supreme  good  is  not  possible 
by  practical  rules,  then  the  moral  law  also  which  commands  us 
to  promote  it  is  directed  to  vain  imaginary  ends,  and  must 
consequently  be  false. 

II. — Critical  Solution  of  the  Antinomy  of  Practical 

The  antinomy  of  pure  speculative  reason  exhibits  a  similar 
conflict  between  freedom  and  physical  necessity  in  the  causality 
of  events  in  the  world.  It  was  solved  by  showing  that  there  is 
no  real  contradiction  when  the  events  and  even  the  world  in 
which  they  occur  are  regarded  (as  they  ought  to  be)  merely  as 
appearances ;  since  one  and  the  same  acting  being,  as  an  ap 
pearance  (even  to  his  own  inner  sense)  (252),  has  a  causality  in 
the  world  of  sense  that  always  conforms  to  the  mechanism  of 
nature,  but  with  respect  to  the  same  events,  so  far  as  the  acting 
person  regards  himself  at  the  same  time  as  a  noumenon  (as  pure 
intelligence  in  an  existence  not  dependent  on  the  condition  of 
time),  he  can  contain  a  principle  by  which  that  causality  acting 
according  to  laws  of  nature  is  determined,  but  which  is  itself 
free  from  all  laws  of  nature. 

It  is  just  the  same  with  the  foregoing  antinomy  of  pure 
practical  reason.  The  first  of  the  two  propositions — That  the 
endeavour  after  happiness  produces  a  virtuous  mind,  is  absolutely 
false ;  but  the  second,  That  a  virtuous  mind  necessarily  pro 
duces  happiness,  is  not  absolutely  false,  but  only  in  so  far  as 
virtue  is  considered  as  a  form  of  causality  in  the  sensible  world, 
and  consequently  only  if  I  suppose  existence  in  it  to  be  the  only 

[253]  PUKE   PRACTICAL  EEASON.  211 

sort  of  existence  of  a  rational  being  ;  it  is  then  only  conditionally 
false.  But  as  I  am  not  only  justified  in  thinking  that  I  exist 
also  as  a  noumenon  in  a  world  of  the  understanding,  but  even 
have  in  the  moral  law  a  purely  intellectual  determining  prin 
ciple  of  my  causality  (in  the  sensible  world),  it  is  not  impossible 
that  morality  of  mind  should  have  a  connexion  as  cause  with 
happiness  (as  an  effect  in  the  sensible  world)  if  not  immediate 
yet  mediate  (viz.  :  through  an  intelligent  author  of  nature), 
and  moreover  necessary  ;  while  in  a  system  of  nature  which 
is  merely  an  object  of  the  senses  this  combination  could  never 
occur  except  contingently,  and  therefore  could  not  suffice  for 
the  summum  bonum. 

Thus,  notwithstanding  this  seeming  conflict  of  practical 
reason  with  itself,  the  summum  bonurn,  which  is  the  necessary 
supreme  end  of  a  will  morally  determined,  is  a  true  object 
thereof ;  for  it  is  practically  possible,  and  the  maxims  of  the 
will  which  as  regards  their  matter  refer  to  it  have  objective 
reality,  which  at  first  was  threatened  by  the  antinomy  that 
appeared  in  the  connexion  (253)  of  morality  with  happiness 
by  a  general  law ;  but  this  was  merely  from  a  misconception, 
because  the  relation  between  appearances  was  taken  for  a 
relation  of  the  things  in  themselves  to  these  appearances. 

When  we  find  ourselves  obliged  to  go  so  far,  namely,  to  the 
connexion  with  an  intelligible  world,  to  find  the  possibility  of 
the  summum  bonum,  which  reason  points  out  to  all  rational 
beings  as  the  goal  of  all  their  moral  wishes,  it  must  seem 
strange  that,  nevertheless,  the  philosophers  both  of  ancient  and 
modern  times  have  been  able  to  find  happiness  in  accurate 
proportion  to  virtue  even  in  this  life\m  the  sensible  world),  or 
have  persuaded  themselves  that  they  were  conscious  thereof. 
For  Epicurus  as  well  as  the  Stoics  extolled  above  everything 
the  happiness  that  springs  from  the  consciousness  of  living 
virtuously  ;  and  the  former  was  not  so  base  in  his  practical  pre 
cepts  as  one  might  infer  from  the  principles  of  his  theory,  which 
he  used  for  explanation  and  not  for  action,  or  as  they  were 
interpreted  by  many  who  were  misled  by  his  using  the  term 
pleasure  for  contentment ;  on  the  contrary,  he  reckoned  the  most 

P  2 

212  DIALECTIC   OF  [254] 

disinterested  practice  of  good  amongst  the  ways  of  enjoying 
the  most  intimate  delight,  and  his  scheme  of  pleasure  (by  which 
he  meant  constant  cheerfulness  of  mind)  included  the  modera 
tion  and  control  of  the  inclinations,  such  as  the  strictest  moral 
philosopher  might  require.  He  differed  from  the  Stoics  chiefly 
in  making  this  pleasure  the  motive,  which  they  very  rightly 
refused  to  do.  For,  on  the  one  hand,  the  virtuous  Epicurus,  like 
many  well-intentioned  men  of  this  day,  who  do  not  reflect 
deeply  enough  on  their  principles,  fell  into  the  error  of  pre 
supposing  the  virtuous  disposition  in  the  persons  for  whom  he 
wished  to  provide  the  springs  to  virtue  (and  indeed  the  upright 
man  cannot  be  happy  (254)  if  he  is  not  first  conscious  of  his 
uprightness ;  since  with  such  a  character  the  reproach  that  his 
habit  of  thought  would  oblige  him  to  make  against  himself  in 
case  of  transgression  and  his  moral  self-condemnation  would 
rob  him  of  all  enjoyment  of  the  pleasantness  which  his  condition 
might  otherwise  contain).  But  the  question  is,  How  is  such  a 
disposition  possible  in  the  first  instance,  and  such  a  habit  of 
thought  in  estimating  the  worth  of  one's  existence,  since  prior  to 
it  there  can  be  in  the  subject  no  feeling  at  all  for  moral  worth  ? 
If  a  man  is  virtuous  without  being  conscious  of  his  integrity  in 
every  action,  he  will  certainly  not  enjoy  life,  however  favourable 
fortune  may  be  to  him  in  its  physical  circumstances  ;  but  can  we 
make  him  virtuous  in  the  first  instance,  in  other  words,  before 
he  esteems  the  moral  worth  of  his  existence  so  highly,  by 
praising  to  him  the  peace  of  mind  that  would  result  from 
the  consciousness  of  an  integrity  for  which  he  has  no  sense  ? 

On  the  other  hand,  however,  there  is  here  an  occasion  of  a 
vitium  subreptionis,  and  as  it  were  of  an  optical  illusion,  in  the 
self-consciousness  of  what  one  does  as  distinguished  from  what 
one  feels — an  illusion  which  even  the  most  experienced  cannot 
altogether  avoid.  The  moral  disposition  of  mind  is  necessarily 
combined  with  a  consciousness  that  the  will  is  determined  directly 
~by  the  law.  Now  the  consciousness  of  a  determination  of  the 
faculty  of  desire  is  always  the  source  of  a  satisfaction  in  the 
resulting  action  ;  but  this  pleasure,  this  satisfaction  in  oneself, 
is  not  the  determining  principle  of  the  action  ;  on  the  contrary, 

[255]  PURE   PKACTICAL  REASON.  213 

the  determination  of  the  will  directly  by  reason  is  the  source  of 
the  feeling  of  pleasure,  and  this  remains  a  pure  practical  not 
sensible  determination  of  the  faculty  of  desire.  Now  as  this 
determination  has  exactly  the  same  effect  within  (255)  in  im 
pelling  to  activity,  that  a  feeling  of  the  pleasure  to  be  expected 
from  the  desired  action  would  have  had,  we  easily  look  on  what 
we  ourselves  do  as  something  which  we  merely  passively  feel, 
and  take  the  moral  spring  for  a  sensible  impulse,  just  as  it 
happens  in  the  so-called  illusion  of  the  senses  (in  this  case  the 
inner  sense).  It  is  a  sublime  thing  in  human  nature  to  be 
determined  to  actions  immediately  by  a  purely  rational  law  ; 
sublime  even  is  the  illusion  that  regards  the  subjective  side  of 
this  capacity  of  intellectual  determination  as  something  sensible, 
and  the  effect  of  a  special  sensible  feeling  (for  an  intellectual 
feeling  would  be  a  contradiction).  It  is  also  of  great  importance 
to  attend  to  this  property  of  our  personality,  and  as  much  as 
possible  to  cultivate  the  effect  of  reason  on  this  feeling.  But 
•we  must  beware  lest  by  falsely  extolling  this  moral  determining 
principle  as  a  spring,  making  its  source  lie  in  particular  feelings 
of  pleasure  (which  are  in  fact  only  results),  we  degrade  and 
disfigure  the  true  genuine  spring,  the  law  itself,  by  putting  as 
it  were  a  false  foil  upon  it.  Kespect,  not  pleasure  or  enjoyment 
of  happiness,  is  something  for  which  it  is  not  possible  that 
reason  should  have  any  antecedent  feeling  as  its  foundation 
(for  this  would  always  be  sensible  and  pathological) ;  [and]1 
consciousness  of  immediate  obligation  of  the  will  by  the  law  is 
by  no  means  analogous  to  the  feeling  of  pleasure,  although  in 
relation  to  the  faculty  of  desire  it  produces  the  same  effect,  but 
from  different  sources:  it  is  only  by  this  mode  of  conception, 
however,  that  we  can  attain  what  we  are  seeking,  namely,  that 
actions  be  done  not  merely  in  accordance  with  duty  (as  a 
result  of  pleasant  feelings),  but  from  duty,  which  must  be  the 
true  end  of  all  moral  cultivation. 

1  [The  original  has  not  'ttnd,'  but  'als,'  which  does  not  give  any 
satisfactory  sense.  I  have,  therefore,  adopted  Hartenstein's  emendation, 
which  seems  at  least  to  give  the  meaning  intended.] 

214  DIALECTIC   OF  [257] 

Have  we  not,  however,  a  word  which  does  not  express  enjoy 
ment,  as  happiness  does  (266),  but  indicates  a  satisfaction  in  one's 
existence,  an  analogue  of  the  happiness  which  must  necessarily 
accompany  the  consciousness  of  virtue  ?  Yes  !  this  word  is  self- 
contentment,  which  in  its  proper  signification  always  designates 
only  a  negative  satisfaction  in  one's  existence,  in  which  one  is 
conscious  of  needing  nothing.  Freedom  and  the  consciousness 
of  it  as  a  faculty  of  following  the  moral  law  with  unyielding 
resolution  is  independence  on  inclinations,  at  least  as  motives 
determining  (though  not  as  affecting)  our  desire,  and  so  far  as  I 
am  conscious  of  this  freedom  in  following  my  moral  maxims,  it 
is  the  only  source  of  an  unaltered  contentment  which  is  neces 
sarily  connected  with  it  and  rests  on  no  special  feeling.  This 
may  be  called  intellectual  contentment.  The  sensible  con 
tentment  (improperly  so-called)  which  rests  on  the  satisfaction 
of  the  inclinations,  however  delicate  they  may  be  imagined  to 
be,  can  never  be  adequate  to  the  conception  of  it.  For  the  incli 
nations  change,  they  grow  with  the  indulgence  shown  them,  and 
always  leave  behind  a  still  greater  void  than  we  had  thought  to 
fill.  Hence  they  are  always  burdensome  to  a  rational  being,  and 
although  he  cannot  lay  them  aside,  they  wrest  from  him  the  wish 
to  be  rid  of  them.  Even  an  inclination  to  what  is  right  (e.g.  to 
beneficence),  though  it  may  much  facilitate  the  efficacy  of  the 
moral  maxims,  cannot  produce  any.  For  in  these  all  must  be 
directed  to  the  conception  of  the  law  as  a  determining  principle, 
if  the  action  is  to  contain  morality  and  not  merely  legality. 
Inclination  is  blind  and  slavish  whether  it  be  of  a  good  sort 
or  not.  and  when  morality  is  in  question,  reason  must  not  play 
the  part  merely  of  guardian  to  inclination,  but,  disregarding 
it  altogether,  must  attend  simply  to  its  own  interest  as  pure 
practical  reason  (257).  This  very  feeling  of  compassion  and 
tender  sympathy,  if  it  precedes  the  deliberation  on  the  question 
of  duty  and  becomes  a  determining  principle,  is  even  annoying 
to  right-thinking  persons,  brings  their  deliberate  maxims  into 
confusion,  and  makes  them  wish  to  be  delivered  from  it  and  to 
be  subject  to  law-giving  reason  alone. 

From  this  we  can  understand  how  the  consciousness  of  this 

[258]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  215 

faculty  of  a  pure  practical  reason  produces  by  action  (virtue)  a 
consciousness  of ,  mastery  over  one's  inclinations,  and  therefore 
of  independence  on  them,  and  consequently  also  on  the  dis 
content  that  always  accompanies  them,  and  thus  a  negative 
satisfaction  with  one's  state,  i.e.  contentment,  which  is  primarily 
contentment  with  one's  own  person.  Freedom  itself  becomes 
in  this  way  (namely  indirectly)  capable  of  an  enjoyment  which 
cannot  be  called  happiness,  because  it  does  not  depend  on  the 
positive  concurrence  of  a  feeling,  nor  is  it,  strictly  speaking, 
Uiss,  since  it  does  not  include  complete  independence  on  in 
clinations  and  wants,  but  it  resembles  bliss  in  so  far  as  the 
determination  of  one's  will  at  least  can  hold  itself  free  from 
their  influence ;  and  thus,  at  least  in  its  origin,  this  enjoyment 
is  analogous  to  the  self-sufficiency  which  we  can  ascribe  only 
to  the  Supreme  Being. 

From  this  solution  of  the  antinomy  of  pure  practical  reason 
it  follows  that  in  practical  principles  we  may  at  least  conceive 
as  possible  a  natural  and  necessary  connexion  between  the 
consciousness  of  morality  and  the  expectation  of  a  proportionate 
happiness  as  its  result,  though  it  does  not  follow  that  we  can 
know  or  perceive  this  connexion ;  that,  on  the  other  hand, 
principles  of  the  pursuit  of  happiness  cannot  possibly  produce 
morality ;  that,  therefore,  morality  is  the  supreme  good  (as  the 
first  condition  of  the  summum  bonum,  while  happiness  con 
stitutes  its  second  element,  but  only  in  such  a  way  that  it 
is  the  morally  conditioned,  but  necessary  consequence  of  the 
former  (268).  Only  with  this  subordination  is  the  summum 
bonum  the  whole  object  of  pure  practical  reason,  which  must 
necessarily  conceive  it  as  possible,  since  it  commands  us  to 
contribute  to  the  utmost  of  our  power  to  its  realization.  But 
since  the  possibility  of  such  connexion  of  the  conditioned  with 
its  condition  belongs  wholly  to  the  supersensual  relation  of 
things,  and  cannot  be  given  according  to  the  laws  of  the  world 
of  sense,  although  the  practical  consequences  of  the  idea  belong 
to  the  world  of  sense,  namely,  the  actions  that  aim  at  realizing 
the  summum  bonum ;  we  will  therefore  endeavour  to  set  forth 
the  grounds  of  that  possibility,  first,  in  respect  of  what  is 

216  DIALECTIC    OF  [26CJ 

immediately  in  our  power,  and  then,  secondly,  in  that  which  is 
not  in  our  power,  but  which  reason  presents  to  us  as  the  supple 
ment  of  our  impotence,  for  the  realization  of  the  summum, 
lonum  (which  by  practical  principles  is  necessary). 

III. — Of  the  Primacy  of  Pure  Practical  Reason  in  its  Union  ivith 
the  Speculative  Reason. 

By  primacy  between  two  or  more  things  connected  by 
reason,  I  understand  the  prerogative  belonging  to  one,  of 
being  the  first  determining  principle  in  the  connexion  with 
all  the  rest.  In  a  narrower  practical  sense  it  means  the  pre 
rogative  of  the  interest  of  one  in  so  far  as  the  interest  of  the 
other  is  subordinated  to  it,  while  it  is  not  postponed  to  any 
other.  To  every  faculty  of  the  mind  we  can  attribute  an  in 
terest,  that  is  a  principle  that  contains  the  condition  on  which 
alone  the  former  is  called  into  exercise.  Reason,  as  the  faculty 
of  principles,  determines  (260)  the  interest  of  all  the  powers  of 
the  mind,  and  is  determined  by  its  own.  The  interest  of  its 
speculative  employment  consists  in  the  cognition  of  the  object 
pushed  to  the  highest  d  priori  principles  :  that  of  its  practical 
employment,  in  the  determination  of  the  will  in  respect  of  the 
final  and  complete  end.  As  to  what  is  necessary  for  the  possi 
bility  of  any  employment  of  reason  at  all,  namely,  that  its 
principles  and  affirmations  should  not  contradict  one  another, 
this  constitutes  no  part  of  its  interest,  but  is  the  condition 
of  having  reason  at  all ;  it  is  only  its  development,  not  mere 
consistency  with  itself,  that  is  reckoned  as  its  interest. 

If  practical  reason  could  not  assume  or  think  as  given  any 
thing  further  than  what  speculative  reason  of  itself  could  offer 
it  from  its  own  insight,  the  latter  would  have  the  primacy. 
But  supposing  that  it  had  of  itself  original  d  priori  principles 
with  which  certain  theoretical  positions  were  inseparably  con 
nected,  while  these  were  withdrawn  from  any  possible  insight 
of  speculative  reason  (which,  however,  they  must  not  contra 
dict)  ;  then  the  question  is,  which  interest  is  the  superior  (not 
which  must  give  way,  for  they  are  not  necessarily  conflicting), 


whether  speculative  reason,  which  knows  nothing  of  all  that  the 
practical  offers  for  its  acceptance,  should  take  up  these  propo 
sitions,  and  (although  they  transcend  it)  try  to  unite  them  with 
its  own  concepts  as  a  foreign  possession  handed  over  to  it,  or 
whether  it  is  justified  in  obstinately  following  its  own  separate 
interest,  and  according  to  the  canonic  of  Epicurus  rejecting 
as  vain  subtlety  everything  that  cannot  accredit  its  objective 
reality  by  manifest  examples  to  be  shown  in  experience,  even 
though  it  should  be  never  so  much  interwoven  with  the 
interest  of  the  practical  (pure)  use  of  reason,  and  in  itself  not 
contradictory  to  the  theoretical,  merely  because  it  infringes  on 
the  interest  of  the  speculative  reason  to  this  extent  (26 1),  that 
it  removes  the  bounds  which  this  latter  had  set  to  itself,  and 
gives  it  up  to  every  nonsense  or  delusion  of  imagination  ? 

In  fact,  so  far  as  practical  reason  is  taken  as  dependent 
on  pathological  conditions,  that  is,  as  merely  regulating  the 
inclinations  under  the  sensible  principle  of  happiness,  we  could 
not  require  speculative  reason  to  take  its  principles  from  such  a 
source.  Mohammed's  paradise,  or  the  absorption  into  the  Deity 
of  the  theosuphists  and  mystics,  would  press  their  monstrosities 
on  the  reason  according  to  the  taste  of  each,  and  one  might  as 
well  have  no  reason  as  surrender  it  in  such  fashion  to  all  sorts 
of  dreams.  But  if  pure  reason  of  itself  can  be  practical  and 
is  actually  so,  as  the  consciousness  of  the  moral  law  proves, 
then  it  is  still  only  one  and  the  same  reason  which,  whether 
in  a  theoretical  or-  a  practical  point  of  view,  judges  according 
to  a  priori  principles ;  and  then  it  is  clear  that  although  it 
is  in  the  first  point  of  view  incompetent  to  establish  certain 
propositions  positively,  which,  however,  do  not  contradict  it, 
then  as  soon  as  these  propositions  are  inseparably  attached  to 
the  practical  interest  of  pure  reason,  then  it  must  accept  them, 
though  it  be  as  something  offered  to  it  from  a  foreign  source, 
something  that  has  not  grown  on  its  own  ground,  but  yet  is 
sufficiently  authenticated ;  and  it  must  try  to  compare  and 
connect  them  with  everything  that  it  has  in  its  power  as 
speculative  reason.  It  must  remember,  however,  that  these 
are  not  additions  to  its  insight,  but  yet  are  extensions  of  its 

218  DIALECTIC   OF  [263J 

employment  in  another,  namely,  a  practical  aspect ;  and  this 
is  not  in  the  least  opposed  to  its  interest,  which  consists  in 
the  restriction  of  wild  speculation. 

Thus,  when  pure  speculative  and  pure  practical  reason  are 
combined  in  one  cognition,  the  latter  has  the  primacy,  provided, 
namely,  that  this  combination  is  not  contingent  and  arbitrary, 
but  founded  a  priori  on  reason  itself  and  therefore  necessary  (262). 
For  without  this  subordination  there  would  arise  a  conflict  of 
reason  with  itself;  since  if  they  were  merely  co-ordinate,  the 
former  would  close  its  boundaries  strictly  and  admit  nothing 
from  the  latter  into  its  domain,  while  the  latter  would  extend 
its  bounds  over  everything,  and  when  its  needs  required  would 
seek  to  embrace  the  former  within  them.  Nor  could  we  reverse 
the  order,  and  require  pure  practical  reason  to  be  subordinate 
to  the  speculative,  since  all  interest  is  ultimately  practical,  and 
even  that  of  speculative  reason  is  conditional,  and  it  is  only  in 
the  practical  employment  of  reason  that  it  is  complete. 

IV. — The  Immortality  of  the  Soul  as  a  Postulate  of  Pure 
Practical  Reason. 

The  realization  of  the  summum  bonum  in  the  world  is  the 
necessary  object  of  a  will  determinable  by  the  moral  law.  But 
in  this  will  the  perfect  accordance  of  the  mind  with  the  moral 
law  is  the  supreme  condition  of  the  summum  bonum.  This  then 
must  be  possible,  as  well  as  its  object,  since  it  is  contained  in 
the  command  to  promote  the  latter.  Now,  the  perfect  accor 
dance  of  the  will  with  the  moral  law  is  holiness,  a  perfection  of 
which  no  rational  being  of  the  sensible  world  is  capable  at  any 
moment  of  his  existence.  Since,  nevertheless,  it  is  required  as 
practically  necessary,  it  can  only  be  found  in  a  progress  in 
infinitum  towards  that  perfect  accordance,  and  on  the  principles 
of -pure  practical  reason  it  is  necessary  (-263)  to  assume  such  a 
practical  progress  as  the  real  object  of  our  will. 

Now,  this  endless  progress  is  only  possible  on  the  supposition 
of  an  endless  duration  of  the  existence  and  personality  of  the 
same  rational  being  (which  is  called  the  immortality  of  the 

[264]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  219 

soul).  The  summum  bonum,  then,  practically  is  only  possible 
on  the  supposition  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul ;  consequently 
this  immortality,  being  inseparably  connected  with  the  moral 
law,  is  a  postulate  of  pure  practical  reason  (by  which  I  mean 
a  theoretical  proposition,  not  demonstrable  as  such,  but  which 
is  an  inseparable  result  of  an  unconditional  d  priori  practical 

This  principle  of  the  moral  destination  of  our  nature, 
namely,  that  it  is  only  in  an  endless  progress  that  we  can 
attain  perfect  accordance  with  the  moral  law,  is  of  the  greatest 
use,  not  merely  for  the  present  purpose  of  supplementing  the 
impotence  of  speculative  reason,  but  also  with  respect  to  re 
ligion.  In  default  of  it,  either  the  moral  law  is  quite  degraded 
from  its  holiness,  being  made  out  to  be  indulgent,  and  con 
formable  to  our  convenience,  or  else  men  strain  their  notions 
of  their  vocation  and  their  expectation  to  an  unattainable  goal, 
hoping  to  acquire  complete  holiness  of  will,  and  so  they  lose 
themselves  in  fantastical  theosophic  dreams,  which  wholly  con 
tradict  self-knowledge.  In  both  cases  the  unceasing  effort  to 
obey  punctually  and  thoroughly  a  strict  and  inflexible  command 
of  reason,  which  yet  is  not  ideal  but  real,  is  only  hindered. 
For  a  rational  but  finite  being,  the  only  thing  possible  is  an 
endless  progress  from  the  lower  to  higher  degrees  of  moral  per 
fection.  The  Infinite  Being,  to  whom  the  condition  of  time  is 
nothing,  (264),  sees  in  this  to  us  endless  succession  a  whole  of 
accordance  with  the  moral  law ;  and  the  holiness  which  His 
command  inexorably  requires,  in  order  to  be  true  to  His  justice 
in  the  share  which  He  assigns  to  each  in  the  summum  bonum, 
is  to  be  found  in  a  single  intellectual  intuition  of  the  whole 
existence  of  rational  beings.  All  that  can  be  expected  of  the 
creature  in  respect  of  the  hope  of  this  participation  would  be 
the  consciousness  of  his  tried  character,  by.  which,  from  the 
progress  he  has  hitherto  made  from  the  worse  to  the  morally 
better,  and  the  immutability  of  purpose  which  has  thus  become 
known  to  him,  he  may  hope  for  a  further  unbroken  continuance 

1  [See  Preface,  p.  115,  note.] 

220  DIALECTIC   OF  [265] 

of  the  same,  however  long  his  existence  may  last,  even  beyond 
this  life,1  and  thus  he  may  hope,  not  indeed  here,  nor  in  any 
imaginable  point  of  his  future  existence,  but  only  in  the 
endlessness  of  his  duration  (which  God  alone  can  survey)  (265) 
to  be  perfectly  adequate  to  his  will  (without  indulgence  or 
excuse,  which  do  not  harmonize  with  justice). 

V. — The  Existence  of  God  as  a  Postulate  of  Pure  Practical 


In  the  foregoing  analysis  the  moral  law  led  to  a  practical 
problem  which  is  prescribed  by  pure  reason  alone,  without  the 
aid  of  any  sensible  motives,  namely,  that  of  the  necessary 
completeness  of  the  first  and  principal  element  of  the  summum 
bonum,  viz.  Morality ;  and  as  this  can  be  perfectly  solved  only 
in  eternity,  to  the  postulate  of  immortality.  The  same  law 
must  also  lead  us  to  affirm  the  possibility  of  the  second  element 
of  the  summum  bonum,  viz.  Happiness  proportioned  to  that 
morality,  and  this  on  grounds  as  disinterested  as  before,  and 

1  It  seems,  nevertheless,  impossible  for  a  creature  to  have  the  conviction 
of  his  unwavering  firmness  of  "mind  in  the  progress  towards  goodness. 
On  this  account  the  Christian  religion  makes  it  come  only  from  the  same 
Spirit  that  works  sanctification,  that  is,  this  firm  purpose,  and  with  it  the 
consciousness  of  steadfastness*  in  the  moral  progress.  But  naturally  one 
who  is  conscious  that  he  has  persevered  through  a  long  portioo  of  his  life 
up  to  the  end  in  the  progress  to  the  better,  and  this  from  genuine  moral 
motives,  may  well  have  the  comforting  hope,  though  not  the  certainty, 
that  even  in  an  existence  prolonged  beyond  this  life  he  will  continue 
steadfast  in  these  principles  ;  and  although  he  is  never  justified  here  in 
his  own  eyes,  nor  can  ever  hope  to  be  so  in  the  increased  perfection  of  his 
nature,  to  which  he  looks  forward,  together  with  an  increase  of  duties, 
nevertheless  in  this  progress  which,  though  it  is  directed  to  a  goal 
infinitely  remote,  yet  is  in  God's  sight  regarded  as  equivalent  to  posses 
sion,  he  may  have  a  prospect  of  a  blessed  future  ;  for  this  is  the  word  that 
reason  employs  to  designate  perfect  loell-being  independent  on  all  con 
tingent  causes  of  the  world,  and  which,  like  holiness,  is  an  idea  that  can 
be  contained  only  in  an  endless  progress  and  its  totality,  and  consequently 
is  never  fully  attained  by  a  creature. 

•  [The  uiro/xonj  ot  the  N.  T.] 


solely  from  impartial  reason ;  that  is,  it  must  lead  to  the 
supposition  of  the  existence  of  a  cause  adequate  to  this  effect ; 
in  other  words,  it  must  postulate  the  existence  of  God,  as  the 
necessary  condition  of  the  possibility  of  the  summum  bonum 
(an  object  of  the  will  which  is  necessarily  connected  with  the 
moral  legislation  of  pure  reason).  We  proceed  to  exhibit  this 
connexion  in  a  convincing  manner. 

Happiness  is  the  condition  of  a  rational  being  in  the  world 
with  whom  everything  goes  according  to  his  wish  and  will ;  it  rests, 
therefore,  on  the  harmony  of  physical  nature  with  his  whole 
end,  and  likewise  with  the  essential  determining  principle  of 
his  will.  Now  the  moral  law  as  a  law  of  freedom  commands  1} 
by  determining  principles  (266),  which  ought  to  be  quite  inde- 1 
pendent  on  nature  and  on  its  harmony  with  our  faculty  of 
desire  (as  springs).  But  the  acting  rational  being  in  the  world 
is  not  the  cause  of  the  world  and  of  nature  itself.  There  is  not 
the  least  ground,  therefore,  in  the  moral  law  for  a  necessary 
connexion  between  morality  and  proportionate  happiness  in  a 
being  that  belongs  to  the  world  as  part  of  it,  and  therefore 
dependent  on  it,  and  which  for  that  reason  cannot  by  his  will 
be  a  cause  of  this  nature,  nor  by  his  own  power  make  it 
thoroughly  harmonize,  as  far  as  his  happiness  is  concerned,  with 
his  practical  principles.  Nevertheless,  in  the  practical  problem 
of  pure  reason,  i.e.  the  necessary  pursuit  of  the  summum  lonum, 
such  a  connexion  is  postulated  as  necessary :  we  ought  to 
endeavour  to  promote  the  summum  bonum,  which,  therefore, 
must  be  possible.  Accordingly,  the  existence  of  a  cause  of  all 
nature,  distinct  from  nature  itself,  and  containing  the  principle 
of  this  connexion,  namely,  of  the  exact  harmony  of  happiness 
with  morality,  is  also  postulated.  Now,  this  supreme  cause  must 
contain  the  principle  of  the  harmony  of  nature,  not  merely  with 
a  law  of  the  will  of  rational  beings,  but  with  the  conception 
of  this  law,  in  so  far  as  they  make  it  the  supreme  determining 
principle  of  the  will,  and  consequently  not  merely  with  the  form 
of  morals,  but  with  their  morality  as  their  motive,  that  is,  with 
their  moral  character.  Therefore,  the  summum  bonum  is  possible 


DIALECTIC   OF  [26?] 

in  the  world  only  on  the  supposition  of  a  Supreme  Being l 
having  a  causality  corresponding  to  moral  character.  Now  a 
being  that  is  capable  of  acting  on  the  conception  of  laws  is  an 
intelligence  (a  rational  being),  and  the  causality  of  such  a  being 
according  to  this  conception  of  laws  is  his  will ;  therefore  the 
supreme  cause  of  nature,  which  must  be  presupposed  as  a  con 
dition  of  the  summum  bonum  (26?)  is  a  being  which  is  the  cause 
of  nature  by  intelligence  and  will,  consequently  its  author,  that 
is  God.  It  follows  that  the  postulate  of  the  possibility  of  the 
highest  derived  good  (the  best  world)  is  likewise  the  postulate  of 
the  reality  of  a  highest  original  good,  that  is  to  say,  of  the 
existence  of  God.  Now  it  was  seen  to  be  a  duty  for  us  to 
promote  the  summum  bonum',  consequently  it  is  not  merely 
allowable,  but  it  is  a  necessity  connected  with  duty  as  a 
requisite,  that  we  should  presuppose  the  possibility  of  this 
summum  bonum ;  and  as  this  is  possible  only  on  condition  of 
the  existence  of  God,  it  inseparably  connects  the  supposition 
of  this  with  duty  ;  that  is,  it  is  morally  necessary  to  assume  the 
existence  of  God. 

It  must  be  remarked  here  that  this  moral  necessity  is 
subjective,  that  is,  it  is  a  want,  and  not  objective,  that  is,  itself  a 
duty,  for  there  cannot  be  a  duty  to  suppose  the  existence  of 
anything  (since  this  concerns  only  the  theoretical  employment 
of  reason).  Moreover,  it  is  not  meant  by  this  that  it  is  necessary 
to  suppose  the  existence  of  God  as  a  basis  of  all  obligation  in 
general  (for  this  rests,  as  has  been  sufficiently  proved,  simply  on 
the  autonomy  of  reason  itself).  What  belongs  to  duty  here  is 
only  the  endeavour  to  realize  and  promote  the  summum  bonum 
in  the  world,  the  possibility  of  which  can  therefore  be  postu 
lated  ;  and  as  our  reason  finds  it  not  conceivable  except  on  the 
supposition  of  a  supreme  intelligence,  the  admission  of  this 
existence  is  therefore  connected  with  the  consciousness  of  our 

1  [The  original  has  "  a  Supreme  Nature."  "Natur,"  however,  almost 
invariably  means  "physical  nature";  therefore  Hartenstein  supplies  the 
words  "cause  of"  before  "nature."  More  probably  "Natur"  is  a  slip 
for  "Ursache,"  "cause."] 

[268]  PURE  PRACTICAL   REASON.  223 

duty,  although  the  admission  itself  belongs  to  the  domain  of 
speculative  reason.  Considered  in  respect  of  this  alone,  as  a 
principle  of  explanation,  it  may  be  called  a  hypothesis,  but  in 
reference  to  the  intelligibility  of  an  object  given  us  by  the 
moral  law  (the  summum  bonum],  and  consequently  of  a  require 
ment  for  practical  purposes,  it  may  be  called  faith,  that  is  to 
say  a  pure  rational  faith,  since  pure  reason  (268)  (both  in  its 
theoretical  and  its  practical  use)  is  the  sole  source  from  which 
it  springs.  ^ 

From  this  deduction  it  is  now  intelligible  why  the  Greek 
schools  could  never  attain  the  solution  of  their  problem  of  the 
practical  possibility  of  the  summum  bonutu,  because  they  made 
the  rule  of  the  use  which  the  will  of  man  makes  of  his  freedom 
the  sole  and  sufficient  ground  of  this  possibility,  thinking  that 
they  had  no  need  for  that  purpose  of  the  existence  of  God.  No 
doubt  they  were  so  far  right  that  they  established  the  principle 
of  morals  of  itself  independently  on  this  postulate,  from  the 
relation  of  reason  only  to  the  will,  and  consequently  made  it 
the  supreme  practical  condition  of  the  summum  bonum ;  but  it 
was  not  therefore  the  whole  condition  of  its  possibility.  The 
Epicureans  had  indeed  assumed  as  the  supreme  principle  of 
morality  a  wholly  false  one,  namely,  that  of  happiness,  and  had 
substituted  for  a  law  a  maxim  of  arbitrary  choice  according  to 
every  man's  inclination ;  they  proceeded,  however,  consistently 
enough  in  this,  that  they  degraded  their  summum  bonum  like 
wise  just  in  proportion  to  the  meanness  of  their  fundamental 
principle,  and  looked  for  no  greater  happiness  than  can  be 
attained  by  human  prudence  (including  temperance  and  modera 
tion  of  the  inclinations),  and  this,  as  we  know,  would  be  scanty 
enough  and  would  be  very  different  according  to  circumstances  ; 
not  to  mention  the  exceptions  that  their  maxims  must  perpetu 
ally  admit  and  which  make  them  incapable  of  being  laws.  The 
Stoics,  on  the  contrary,  had  chosen  their  supreme  practical 
principle  quite  rightly,  making^viilue_J/he  J3flixdition__of^the 
siimmumjbonum ;  but  when  they  represented  the  degree  of 
virtue  required  by  its  pure  law  as  fully  attainable  in  this  life, 
they  not  only  strained  the  moral  powers  of  the  man  whom 

224  DIALECTIC    OF  [269] 

they  called  the  wise  beyond  all  the  limits  of  his  nature,  and 
assumed  (269)  a  thing  that  contradicts  all  our  knowledge  of 
men,  but  also  and  principally  they  would  not  allow  the  second 
element  of  the  summum  bonurn,  namely,  happiness,  to  be  properly 
a  special  object  of  human  desire,  but  made  their  wise  man,  like  a 
divinity  in  his  consciousness  of  the  excellence  of  his  person, 
wholly  independent  on  nature  (as  regards  his  own  contentment) ; 
they  exposed  him  indeed  to  the  evils  of  life,  but  made  him  not 
subject  to  them  (at  the  same  time  representing  him  also  as  free 
from  moral  evil).  They  thus,  in  fact,  left  out  the  second  element 
'  of  the  summum  bonum,  namely,  personal  happiness,  placing  it 
I  solely  in  action  and  satisfaction  with  one's  own  personal  worth, 
thus  including  it  in  the  consciousness  of  being  morally  minded, 
in  which  they  might  have  been  sufficiently  refuted  by  the  voice 
of  their  own  nature.  ^ 

The  doctrine  of  Christianity,1  even  if  we  do  not  yet  consider 
it  as  a  religious  doctrine,  gives,  touching  this  point  (269),  a  con 
ception  of  the  summum  bonum  (the  kingdom  of  God),  which 
alone  satisfies  the  strictest  demand  of  practical  reason.  The 
moral  law  is  holy  (unyielding)  and  demands  holiness  of  morals, 

1  It  is  commonly  held  that  the  Christian  precept  of  morality  has  no 
advantage  in  respect  of  purity  over  the  moral  conceptions  of  the  Stoics  ; 
the  distinction  between  them  is,  however,  very  obvious.  The  Stoic  system 
made  the  consciousness  of  strength  of  mind  the  pivot  on  which  all  moral 
dispositions  should  turn  ;  and  although  its  disciples  spoke  of  duties  and 
even  defined  them  very  well,  yet  they  placed  the  spring  and  proper  deter 
mining  principle  of  the  will  in  an  elevation  of  the  mind  above  the  lower 
springs  of  the  senses,  which  owe  their  power  only  to  weakness  of  mind. 
With  them,  therefore,  virtue  was  a  sort  of  heroism  in  the  ivise  man  who, 
raising  himself  above  the  animal  nature  of  man,  is  sufficient  for  himself, 
and  while  he  prescribes  duties  to  others  is  himself  raised  above  them,  and 
is  not  subject  to  any  temptation  to  transgress  the  moral  law.  All  this, 
however,  they  could  not  have  done  if  they  had  conceived  this  law  in  all  its 
purity  and  strictness,  as  the  precept  of  the  Gospel  does.  When  I  give  the 
name  idea  to  a  perfection  to  which  nothing  adequate  can  be  given  in 
experience,  it  does  not  follow  that  the  moral  ideas  are  something  transcen 
dent,  that  is  something  of  which  we  could  not  even  determine  the  concept 
adequately,  or  of  which  it  is  uncertain  whether  there  is  any  object  corre- 

[270]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  225 

although  all  the  moral  perfection  to  which  man  can  attain  is 
still  only  virtue,  tnat  is,  a  frightful  disposition  arising  from 
respect  for_the_law,  implying  consciousness  of  a  constant  pro 
pensity  to  transgression,  or  at  least  a  want  of  purity,  that  is,  a 
mixture  of  many  spurious  (not  moral)  motives  of  obedience  to 
the  law,  consequently  a  self-esteem  combined  with  humility.  In 
respect,  then,  of  the  holiness  which  the  Christian  law  requires, 
this  leaves  the  creature  nothing  but  a  progress  in  injinitum,  but 
for  that  very  reason  it  justifies  him  in  hoping  for  an  endless 
duration  of  his  existence.  The  worth  of  a  character  perfectly 
accordant  with  the  moral  law  is  infinite,  since  (270)  the  only 
restriction  on  all  possible  happiness  in  the  judgment  of  a  wise 
and  all-powerful  distributor  of  it  is  the  absence  of  conformity  of 
rational  beings  to  their  duty.  But  the  moral  law  of  itself  does 
not  promise  any  happiness,  for  according  to  our  conceptions  of 
an  order  of  nature  in  general,  this  is  not  necessarily  connected 
with  obedience  to  the  law.  Now  Christian  morality  supplies 
this  defect  (of  the  second  indispensable  element  of  the  sum  mum 
bon/'/n)  by  representing  the  world,  in  which  rational  beings 
devote  themselves  with  all  their  soul  to  the  moral  law,  as  a 
i  of  God,  in  which  nature  and  morality  are  brought  into 

spending  to  it  at  all  (270),  as  is  the  case  with  the  ideas  of  speculative 
reason  ;  on  the  contrary,  being  types  of  practical  perfection,  they  serve  as 
the  indispensable  rule  of  conduct  and  likewise  as  the  standard  of  compari 
son.  Now  if  I  consider  Christian  morals  on  their  philosophical  side,  then 
compared  with  the  ideas  of  the  Greek  schools  they  would  appear  as  follows : 
the  ideas  of  the  Cynics,  the  Epicureans,  the  Stoics,  and  the  Christians  are  : 
simplicity  of  nature,  prudence,  ivisdom,  and  holiness.  In  respect  of  the  way 
of  attaining  them,  the  Greek  schools  were  distinguished  from  one  another 
thus,  that  the  Cynics  only  required  common  sense,  the  others  the  path  of 
science,  but  both  found  the  mere  use  of  natural  powers  sufficient  for  the 
purpose.  Christian  morality,  because  its  precept  is  framed  (as  a  moral 
precept  must  be)  so  pure  and  unyielding,  takes  from  man  all  confidence  that 
he  can  be  fully  adequate  to  it,  at  least  in  this  life,  but  again  sets  it  up  by 
enabling  us  to  hope  that  if  we  act  as  well  as  it  is  in  our  power  to  do,  then 
what  is  not  in  our  power  will  come  in  to  our  aid  from  another  source, 
whether  we  know  how  this  may  be  or  not.  Aristotle  and  Plato  differed  only 
as  to  the  origin  of  our  moral  conceptions.  [See  Preface,  p.  115,  note.~\ 


226  DIALECTIC    OF  [~27l] 

[a  harmony  foreign  to  each  of  itself,  by  a  holy  Author  who 
[makes  the  derived  summum  bonum  possible.  Holiness  of  life  is 
prescribed  to  them  as  a  rule  even  in  this  life,  while  the  welfare 
proportioned  to  it,  namely,  bliss,  is  represented  as  attainable 
only  in  an  eternity  ;  because  the  former  must  always  be  the 
pattern  of  their  conduct  in  every  state,  and  progress  towards  it 
is  already  possible  and  necessary  in  this  life  ;  while  the  latter, 
under  the  name  of  happiness,  cannot  be  attained  at  all  in  this 
world  (so  far  as  our  own  power  is  concerned),  and  therefore  is 
made  simply  an  object  of  hope.  Nevertheless,  the  Christian 
principle  of  morality  itself  is  not  theological  (so  as  to  be  hetero- 
nomy),  but  is_autonom^of_pure  practical  reason,  since  it  does 

will  the  foundation  of 

tfiese,_but_only  of  the  attainment  of  the  summum  bomini,  on 
condition  of  following_these  laws,  and  it  does_not  even  place  the 
proper  spmn£of_this  obedience  in  thedesired_r^su|te,Jjut  solely 
in  the  conception  of  duty,,as  that  o_f_  which,  the  faithful_observ- 

obtamjbhose  happy 

In  this  manner  the  moral  laws  lead  through  the  conception 
of  the  summum  bonum  as  the  object  and  final  end  of  pure  prac 
tical  reason  to  religion  (in),  that  is,  to  the  recognition  of  all 
iutics  as  divine  commands,  not  as  sanctions,1  that  is  to  say,  arbi 
trary  ordinances  of  a  foreign  will  and  contingent  in  themselves,  but 
is  essential  laws  of  every  free  will  in  itself,  which,  nevertheless, 
nust  be  regarded  as  commands  of  the  Supreme  Being,  because 
t  is  only  from  a  morally  perfect  (holy  and  good)  and  at  the 
same  time  all-powerful  will,  and  consequently  only  through 
larmony  with  this  will,  that  we  can  hope  to  attain  the  summum 
bonum  which  the  moral  law  makes  it  our  duty  to  take  as  the 
object  of  our  endeavours.  Here  again,  then,  all  remains  dis 
interested  and  founded  merely  on  duty  ;  neither  fear  nor  hope 
being  made  the  fundamental  springs,  which  if  taken  as  prin- 

1  [The  word  '  sanction  '  is  here  used  in  the  technical  German  sense, 
which  is  familiar  to  students  of  history  in  connexion  with  the  'Pragmatic 

[-272]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  227 

ciples  would  destroy  the  whole  moral  worth  of  actions.  The 
moral  law  commands  me  to  make  the  highest  possible  good  in  a 
world  the  ultimate  object  of  all  my  conduct.  But  I  cannot 
hope  to  effect  this  otherwise  than  by  the  harmony  of  my  will 
with  that  of  a  holy  and  good  Author  of  the  world ;  and  although 
the  conception  of  the  summnm  bonum  as  a  whole,  in  which  the 
greatest  happiness  is  conceived  as  combined  in  the  most  exact 
proportion  with  the  highest  degree  of  moral  perfection  (possible 
in  creatures),  includes  my  own  happiness,  yet  it  is  not  this  that 
is  the  determining  principle  of  the  will  which  is  enjoined  to 
promote  the  summum  bonum,  but  the  moral  law,  which,  on  the 
contrary,  limits  by  strict  conditions  my  unbounded  desire  of 

Hence  also  morality  is  not  properly  the  doctrine  how  we  0 
should  make  ourselves  happy,  but  how  we  should  become  worthy  \ 
of  happiness.     It  is  only  when  religion  is  added  that  there  also 
comes  in  the  hope  of  participating  some  day  in_happiness  in 
proportion  as  we  have  endeavoured  to  be  not  unworthy  of  it. 

(272)  A  man  is  worthy  to  possess  a  thing  or  a  state  when  his 
possession  of  it  is  iii  harmony  with  the  summnm  bonum.  We 
can  now  easily  see  that  all  worthiness  depends  on  moral  conduct, 
since  in  the  conception  of  the  summum  bonum  this  constitutes 
the  condition  of  the  rest  (which  belongs  to  one's  state),  namely, 
the  participation  of  happiness.  Now  it  follows  from  this  that 
morality  should  never  be  treated  as  a  doctrine  of  happiness, 
that  is,  an  instruction  how  to  become  happy ;  for  it  has  to  do 
simply  with  the  rational  condition  (conditio  sine  qua  non)  of 
happiness,  not  with  the  means  of  attaining  it.  But  when 
morality  has  been  completely  expounded  (which  merely  im 
poses  duties  instead  of  providing  rules  for  selfish  desires),  then 
first,  after  the  moral  desire  to  promote  the  summum  bonum  (to 
bring  the  kingdom  of  God  to  us)  has  been  awakened,  a  desire 
founded  on  a  law,  and  which  could  not  previously  arise  in  any 
selfish  mind,  and  when  for  the  behoof  of  this  desire  the  step  to 
religion  has  been  taken,  then  this  ethical  doctrine  may  be  also 
called  a  doctrine  of  happiness  because  the  hope  of  happiness 
first  begins  with  religion  only. 


228  DIALECTIC    OF  [273] 

We  can  also  see  from  this  that,  when  we  ask  what  is  God's 
ultimate  cndi\\  creating  the  world,  we  must  not  name  the  happi 
ness  of  the  rational  beings  in  it,  but  the  sum  mum  bonum,  which 
adds  a  further  condition  to  that  wish  of  such  beings,  namely, 
the  condition  of  being  worthy  of  happiness,  that  is,  the  morality 
of  these  same  rational  beings,  a  condition  which  alone  contains 
the  rule  by  which  only  they  can  hope  to  share  in  the  former  at 
the  hand  of  a  wise  Author.  For  as  wisdom-  theoretically  con 
sidered  signifies  the  knowledge  of  the  summum  bo-ntun,  and  practi 
cally  the  accordance  of  the  will  with  the  summum  bonnm,  we 
cannot  attribute  to  a  supreme  independent  wisdom  an  end 
based  merely  on  goodness  (-273).  For  we  cannot  conceive  the 
action  of  this  goodness  (in  respect  of  the  happiness  of  rational 
beings)  as  suitable  to  the  highest  original  good,  except  under 
the  restrictive  conditions  of  harmony  with  the  holiness  of  His 
will.  Therefore  those  who  placed  the  end  of  creation  in  the 
glory  of  God  (provided  that  this  is  not  conceived  anthropomor- 
phically  as  a  desire  to  be  praised)  have  perhaps  hit  upon  the 
best  expression.  For  nothing  glorifies  God  more  than  that 
which  is  the  most  estimable  thing  in  the  world,  respect  for  His 
command,  the  observance  of  the  holy  duty  that  His  law  imposes 
on  us,  when  there  is  added  thereto  His  glorious  plan  of  crown- 
ing  such  a  beautiful  order  of  things  with  corresponding  happi 
ness.  If  the  latter  (to  speak  humanly)  makes  Him  worthy  of 

1  In  order  to  make  these  characteristics  of  these  conceptions  clear,  I 
add  the  remark  that  whilst  we  ascribe  to  God  various  attributes,  the 
quality  of  which  we  also  find  applicable  to  creatures,  only  that  in  Him 
they  are  raised  to  the  highest  degree,  e.g.  power,  knowledge,  presence, 
goodness,  &c.,  under  the  designations  of  omnipotence,  omniscience,  omni- 

o  or 

presence,  Arc.,  there  are  three  that  are  ascribed  to  God  exclusively,  and 
yet  without  the  addition  of  greatness,  and  which  are  all  moral.  He  is  the 
only  holy,  the  only  blessed,  the  only  trise,  because  these  conceptions  already 
imply  the  .absence  of  limitation.  In  the  order  of  these  attributes  He  is 
also  the  holy  lau-girer  (and  creator),  the  good  governor  (and  preserver), 
and  the  just  judge,  three  attributes  which  include  everything  by  which 
God  is  the  object  of  religion,  and  in  conformity  with  which  the  meta 
physical  perfections  are  added  of  themselves  in  the  reason. 

[-274]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  229 

love,  by  the  former  He  is  an  object  of  adoration.  Even  men 
can  never  acquire  respect  by  benevolence  alone,  though  they 
may  gain  love,  so  that  the  greatest  beneficence  only  procures 
them  honour  when  it  is  regulated  by  worthiness. 

That  in  the  order  of  ends,  man  (and  with  him  every  rational 
being)  is  an  end  in  himself,  that  is,  that  he  can  never  be  used 
merely  as  a  means  by  any  (274)  (not  even  by  God)  without  being 
at  the  same  time  an  end  also  himself,  that  therefore  humanity 
in  our  person  must  be  holy  to  ourselves,  this  follows  now  of 
itself  because  he  is  the  subject1  of  the  moral  law,  in  other  words,i] 
of  that  which  is  holy  in  itself,  and  on  account  of  which  and 
in  agreement  with  which  alone  can  anything  be  termed  holy. 
For  this  moral  law  is  founded  on  the  autonomy  of  his  will, 
as  a  free  will  which  by  its  universal  laws  must  necessarily  be 
able  to  agree  with  that  to  which  it  is  to  submit  itself. 

VI. — Of  the  Postulates  of  Pure  Practical  fieason  in 

They  all  proceed  from  the  principle  of  morality,  which  is 
not  a  postulate  but  a  law,  by  which  reason  determines  the 
will  directly,  which  will,  because  it  is  so  determedin  as  a  pure 
will,  requires  these  necessary  conditions  of  obedience  to  its 
precept.  These  postulates  are  not  theoretical  dogmas  but, 
suppositions  practically  necessary ;  while  then  they  do  [not]2 
extend  our  speculative  knowledge,  they  give  objective  reality 
to  the  ideas  of  speculative  reason  in  general  (by  means  of 
their  reference  to  what  is  practical),  and  give  it  a  right  to 
concepts,  the  possibility  even  of  which  it  could  riot  otherwise 
venture  to  affirm. 

,  These  postulates  are  those  of  immortality,  freedom  positively 
considered  (as  the  causality  of  a  being  so  far  as  he  belongs  to 

1  [That  the  ambiguity  of  the  word  subject  may  not  mislead  the  reader, 
it  may  be  remarked  that  it  is  here  used  in  the  psychological  sens  e 
snljectum  legis,  not  subjectus  hgi.~] 

2  [Absent  from  the  original  text.] 

230  DIALECTIC    OF  [276] 

the  intelligible  world),  and  the  existence  of  God.  The  first 
results  from  the  practically  necessary  condition  of  a  dura 
tion  (275)  adequate  to  the  complete  fulfilment  of  the  moral 
law ;  the  second  from  the  necessary  supposition  of  independence 
on  the  sensible  world,  and  of  the  faculty  of  determining  one's 
will  according  to  the  law  of  an  intelligible  world,  that  is,  of 
freedom ;  the  third  from  the  necessary  condition  of  the  ex 
istence  of  the  summum  bonum  in  such  an  intelligible  world, 
by  the  supposition  of  the  supreme  independent  good,  that  is, 
the  existence  of  God. 

Thus  the  fact  that  respect  for  the  moral  law  necessarily 
makes  the  summum  bonum  an  object  of  our  endeavours,  and 
the  supposition  thence  resulting  of  its  objective  reality,  lead 
through  the  postulates  of  practical  reason  to  conceptions  which 
speculative  reason  might  indeed  present  as  problems,  but  could 
never  solve.  Thus  it  leads — 1.  To  that  one  in  the  solution  of 
which  the  latter  could  do  nothing  but  commit  paralogisms 
(namely,  that  of  immortality),  because  it  could  not  lay  hold  of 
the  character  of  permanence,  by  which  to  complete  the  psycho 
logical  conception  of  an  ultimate  subject  necessarily  ascribed  to 
the  soul  in  self-consciousness,  so  as  to  make  it  the  real  concep 
tion  of  a  substance,  a  character  which  practical  reason  furnishes 
by  the  postulate  of  a  duration  required  for  accordance  with  the 
moral  law  in  the  snmmum  bonum,  which  is  the  whole  end  of 
practical  reason.  2.  It  leads  to  that  of  which  speculative  reason 
contained  nothing  but  antinomy,  the  solution  of  which  it  could 
only  found  on  a  notion  problematically  conceivable  indeed,  but 
whose  objective  reality  it  could  not  prove  or  determine,  namely, 
the  cosmological  idea  of  an  intelligible  world  and  the  conscious 
ness  of  our  existence  in  it,  by  means  of  the  postulate  of  freedom 
(the  reality  of  which  it  lays  down  by  virtue  of  the  moral  law), 
and  with  it  likewise  the  law  of  an  intelligible  world,  to  which 
speculative  reason  could  only  point,  but  could  not  define  its 
conception.  3.  What  speculative  reason  was  able  to  think,  but 
was  obliged  to  leave  undetermined  as  a  mere  transcendental 
ideal  (276),  viz.  the  theological  conception  of  the  First  Being,  to 
this  it  gives  significance  (in  a  practical  view,  that  is,  as  a 

[277]  PUKE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  231 

condition  of  the  possibility  of  the  object  of  a  will  determined 
by  that  law),  namely,  as  the  supreme  principle  of  the  summum 
bonum  in  an  intelligible  world,  by  means  of  moral  legislation  in 
it  invested  with  sovereign  power. 

Is  our  knowledge,  however,  actually  extended  in  this  way 
by  pure  practical  reason,  and  is  that  immanent  in  practical 
reason  which  for  the  speculative  was  only  transcendent  ? 
Certainly,  but  only  in  a  practical  point  of  view.  *£For  we  do  I 
not  thereby  take  knowledge  of  the  nature  of  our  souls,  nor  of  I 
the  intelligible  world,  nor  of  the  Supreme  Being,  with  respect  I 
to  what  they  are  in  themselves,  but  Jwe  have  merely  combined 
the  conceptions  of  them  in  the  practical  concept  of  the  summum 
bonum  as  the  object  of  our  will,  and  this  altogether  a  priori,  but 
only  by  means  of  the  moral  law,  and  merely  in  reference  to  it, 
in  respect  of  the  object  which  it  commands.  '  But  how  freedom 
is  possible,  and  how  we  are  to  conceive  this  kind  of  causality 
theoretically  and  positively,  is  not  thereby  discovered  ;  but  only 
that  there  is  such  a  causality  is  postulated  by  the  -moral  law 
and  in  its  behoof.  It  is  the  same  with  the  remaining  ideas,  the 
possibility  of  which  no  human  intelligence  will  ever  fathom, 
but  the  truth  of  which,  on  the  other  hand,  no  sophistry  will 
ever  wrest  from  the  conviction  even  of  the  commonest  man.e 

(277)  VII. — HOVJ  is  it  possible  to  conceive  an  extension  of  Pure 
Reason  in  a  Practical  point  of  view,  without  its  Knowledge 
as  Speculative  being  enlarged  at  the  same  time  1 

In  order  not  to  be  too  abstract,  we  will  answer  this  question 
at  once  in  its  application  to  the  present  case.  In  order  to 
extend  a  pure  cognition  practically,  there  must  be  an  d  priori 
purpose,  given,  that  is,  an  end  as  object  (of  the  will),  which 
independently  on  all  theological  principle .  is  presented  as 
practically  necessary  by  an  imperative  which  determines  the 
will  directly  (a  categorical  imperative),  and  in  this  case  that  is 
the  summum  bonum.  This,  however,  is  not  possible  without  pre 
supposing  three  theoretical  conceptions  (for  which,  because  they 
are  mere  conceptions  of  pure  reason,  no  corresponding  intuition 

2 .'52  DIALECTIC    OF  [~278] 

can  be  found,  nor  consequently  by  the  path  of  theory  any 
objective  reality), namely,  freedom,  immortality,  and  God.  Thus 
by  the  practical  law  which  commands  the  existence  of  the 
highest  good  possible  in  a  world,  the  possibility  of  those  objects 
of  pure  speculative  reason  is  postulated,  and  the  objective 
reality  which  the  latter  could  not  assure  them.  By  this  the 
theoretical  knowledge  of  pure  reason  does  indeed  obtain  an 
accession  ;  but  it  consists  only  in  this,  that  those  concepts  which 
otherwise  it  had  to  look  upon  as  problematical  (merely  think 
able)  concepts,  are  now  shown  assertorially  to  be  such  as  actually 
have  objects;  becaiise  practical  reason  indispensably  requires 
their  existence  for  the  possibility  of  •  its  object,  the  sum  mum 
lionum,  which  practically  is  absolutely  necessary,  and  this 
justifies  theoretical  reason  in  assuming  them.  But  this  ex 
tension  of  theoretical  reason  (273)  is  no  extension  of  speculative, 
that  is,  we  cannot  make  any  positive  use  of  it  in  a  theoretical 
point  of  view.  For  as  nothing  is  accomplished  in  this  by  practical 
reason,  further  than  that  these  concepts  are  real  and  actually 
have  their  (possible)  objects,  and  nothing  in  the  way  of  intui 
tion  of  them  is  given  thereby  (which  indeed  could  not  be 
demanded),  hence  the  admission  of  this  reality  does  not  render 
any  synthetical  proposition  possible.  Consequently  this  dis 
covery  does  not  in  the  least  help  us  to  extend  this  knowledge  of 
ours  in  a  speculative  point  of  view,  although  it  does  in  respect 
of  the  practical  employment  of  pure  reason.  The  above  three 
ideas  of  speculative  reason  are  still  in  themselves  not  cogni 
tions  ;  they  are,  however,  (transcendent-)  thouyhts  in  which  there 
is  nothing  impossible.  Now,  by  help  of  an  apodictic  practical 
law,  being  necessary  conditions  of  that  which  it  commands  to  Ic 
made  an  object,  they  acquire  objective  reality  :  that  is,  we  learn 
from  it  that  tltci/  have  objects,  without  being  able  to  point  out 
how  the  conception  of  them  is  related  to  an  object,  and  this, 
too,  is  still  not  a  cognition  of  these  objects ;  for  we  cannot 
thereby  form  any  synthetical  judgment  about  them,  nor  deter 
mine  their  application  theoretically  ;  consequently  we  can  make 
no  theoretical  rational  use  of  them  at  all,  in  which  use  all 
speculative  knowledge  of  reason  consists.  Nevertheless,  the 

[279]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  233 

theoretical  knowledge.  not  indeed  of  these  objects,  but  of  reason 
generally,  is  so  far  enlarged  by  this,  that  by  the  practical  pos 
tulates  objects  were  given  to  those  ideas,  a  merely  problematical 
thought  having  by  this  means  first  acquired  objective  reality. 
There  is  therefore  no  extension  of  the  knowledge  of  given  super 
sensible  objects,  but  an  extension  of  theoretical  reason  and  of  its 
knowledge  in  respect  of  the  supersensible  generally  ;  inasmuch 
as  it  is  compelled  to  admit  tlutt  there  are  such  objects  (279), 
although  it  is  not  able  to  define  them  more  closely,  so  as  itself 
to  extend  this  knowledge  of  the  objects  (which  have  now  been 
given  it  on  practical  grounds,  and  only  for  practical  use).  For 
this  accession,  then,  pure  theoretical  reason,  for  which  all  those 
ideas  are  transcendent  and  without  object;  has  simply  to  thank 
its  practical  faculty.  In  this  they  become  immanent  and  consti 
tutive,  being  the  source  of  the  possibility  of  realizing  tlie  necessary 
object  of  pure  practical  reason  (the  summum  bonum)  ;  whereas 
apart  from  this  they  are  transcendent,  and  merely  regulative 
principles  of  speculative  reason,  which  do  not  require  it  to 
assume  a  new  object  beyond  experience,  but  only  to  bring  its 
use  in  experience  nearer  to  completeness.  But  when  once 
reason  is  in  possession  of  this  accession,  it  will  go  to  work  with 
these  ideas  as  speculative  reason  (properly  only  to  assure  the 
certainty  of  its  practical  use)  in  a  negative  manner :  that  is, 
not  extending  but  clearing  up  its  knowledge  so  as  on  one  side 
to  keep  off  anthropomorphism,  as  the  source  of  superstition,  or 
seeming  extension  of  these  conceptions  by  supposed  experience ; 
and  on  the  other  side  fanaticism,  which  promises  the  same  by 
means  of  supersensible  intuition  or  feelings  of  the  like  kind. 
All  these  are  hindrances  to  the  practical  use  of  pure  reason,  so 
that  the  removal  of  them  may  certainly  be  considered  an 
extension  of  our  knowledge  in  a  practical  point  of  view,  with 
out  contradicting  the  admission  that  for  speculative  purposes 
reason  has  not  in  the  least  gained  by  this. 

Every  employment  of  reason  in  respect  of  an  object  requires 
pure  concepts  of  the  understanding  (categories),  without  which 
no  object  can  be  conceived.  These  can  be  applied  to  the  theo 
retical  employment  of  reason,  i.e.,  to  that  kind  of  knowledge, 

234  DIALECTIC    OF  [28lJ 

only  in  case  an  intuition  (which  is  always  sensible)  is  taken  as 
a  basis,  and  therefore  merely  in  order  (280)  to  conceive  by  means 
of  them  an  object  of  possible  experience.  Now  here  what  have 
to  be  thought  by  means  of  the  categories,  in  order  to  be  known, 
are  ideas  of  reason,  which  cannot  be  given  in  any  experience. 
Only  we  are  not  here  concerned  with  the  theoretical  knowledge 
of  the  objects  of  these  ideas,  but  only  with  this,  whether  they 
have  objects  at  all.  This  reality  is  supplied  by  pure  practical 
reason,  and  theoretical  reason  has  nothing  further  to  do  in  this 
but  to  think  those  objects  by  means  of  categories.  This,  as  we 
have  elsewhere  clearly  shown,  can  be  done  well  enough  without 
needing  any  intuition  (either  sensible  or  supersensible),  because 
the  categories  have  their  seat  and  origin  in  the  pure  understand 
ing,  simply  as  the'  faculty  of  thought,  before  and  independently 
on  any  intuition,  and  they  always  only  signify  an  object  in 
general,  no  matter  in  what  way  it  may  be  given  to  us.  Now  when 
the  categories  are  to  be  applied  to  these  ideas,  it  is  not  possible 
to  give  them  any  object  in  intuition  ;  but  that  such  an  object 
actually  exists,  and  consequently  that  the  category  as  a  mere 
form  of  thought  is  here  not  empty  but  has  significance,  this  is 
sufficiently  assured  them  by  an  object  which  practical  reason 
presents  beyond  doubt  in  the  concept  of  the  summum  bonunt, 
namely,  the  reality  of  the  conceptions  which  are  required  for 
the  possibility  of  the  summum  bonum,  without,  however,  effect 
ing  by  this  accession  the  least  extension  of  our  knowledge  on 
theoretical  principles. 

When  these  ideas  of  God,  of  an  intelligible  world  (the 
kingdom  of  God),  and  of  immortality  are  further  determined  by 
predicates  taken  from  our  own  nature,  we  must  not  regard  this 
determination  as  a  sensualizing  of  those  pure  rational  ideas  (28 1) 
(anthropomorphism),  nor  as  a  transcendent  knowledge  of  super 
sensible  objects ;  for  these  predicates  are  no  others  than  under 
standing  and  will,  considered  too  in  the  relation  to  each  other 
in  which  they  must  be  conceived  in  the  moral  law,  and  there 
fore  only  so  far  as  a  pure  practical  use  is  made  of  them.  As  to 
all  the  rest  that  belongs  to  these  conceptions  psychologically, 

[282]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  235 

that  is,  so  far  as  we  observe  these  faculties  of  ours  empirically 
in  their  exercise  (e.g.  that  the  understanding  of  man  is  discursive, 
and  its  notions  therefore  not  intuitions  but  thoughts,  that  these 
follow  one  another  in  time,  that  his  will  has  its  satisfaction 
always  dependent  on  the  existence  of  its  object,  &c.,  which 
cannot  be  the  case  in  the  Supreme  Being),  from  all  this  we 
abstract  in  that  case,  and  then  there  remains  of  the  notions  by 
which  we  conceive  a  pure  intelligence  nothing  more  than  just 
what  is  required  for  the  possibility  of  conceiving  a  moral  law. 
There  is  then  a  knowledge  of  God  indeed,  but  only  for  practical 
purposes ;  and  if  we  attempt  to  extend  it  to  a  theoretical  know 
ledge,  we  find  an  understanding  that  has  intuitions,  not  thoughts, 
a  will  that  is  directed  to  objects  on  the  existence  of  which  its 
satisfaction  does  not  in  the  least  depend  (not  to  mention  the 
transcendental  predicates,  as,  for  example,  a  magnitude  of  exist 
ence,  that  is  duration,  which,  however,  is  not  in  time,  the  only 
possible  means  we  have  of  conceiving  existence  as  magnitude). 
Now  these  are  all  attributes  of  which  we  can  form  no  conception 
that  would  help  to  the  knowledge  of  the  object,  and  we  learn 
from  this  that  they  can  never  be  used  for  a  theory  of  supersen 
sible  beings,  so  that  on  this  side  they  are  quite  incapable  of 
being  the  foundation  of  a  speculative  knowledge,  and  their  use 
is  limited  simply  to  the  practice  of  the  moral  law. 

(282)  This  last  is  so  obvious,  and  can  be  proved  so  clearly  by 
fact,  that  we  may  confidently  challenge  all  pretended  natural 
theologians  (a  singular  name)1  to  specify  (over  and  above  the 

1  [This  remark,  as  well  as  the  following  note,  applies  to  the  etymological 
form  of  the  German  word,  which  is  God-learned.]  Learning  is  properly 
only  the  whole  content  of  the  historical  sciences.  Consequently  it  is  only 
the  teacher  of  revealed  theology  that  can  he  called  a  learned  theologian 
[God-learned].  If,  however,  we  choose  to  call  a  man  learned  who  is  in 
possession  of  the  rational  sciences  (mathematics  and  philosophy),  although 
even  this  would  be  contrary  to  the  signification  of  the  word  (which  always 
counts  as  learning  only  that  which  must  be  'learned  '  [taught],  and  which, 
therefore,  he  cannot  discover  of  himself  by  reason),  even  in  that  case  the 
philosopher  would  make  too  poor  a  figure  with  his  knowledge  of  God  as 
a  positive  science  to  let  himself  be  called  on  that  account  a  learned  man. 

236  DIALECTIC   OF  [-283] 

merely  ontological  predicates)  one  single  attribute,  whether  of 
the  understanding  or  of  the  will,  determining  this  object  of 
theirs,  of  which  we  could  not  show  incontrovertibly  that  if  we 
abstract  from  it  everything  anthropomorphic,  nothing  would 
remain  to  us  but  the  mere  word,  without  our  being  able  to  connect 
with  it  the  smallest  notion  by  which  we  could  hope  for  an  exten 
sion  of  theoretical  knowledge.  But  as  to  the  practical,  there 
still  remains  to  us  of  the  attributes  of  understanding  and  will  the 
conception  of  a  relation  to  which  objective  reality  is  given  by  the 
practical  law  (which  determines  d  priori  precisely  this  relation 
of  the  understanding  to  the  will).  When  once  this  is  done, 
then  reality  is  given  to  the  conception  of  the  object  of  a  will 
morally  determined  (the  conception  of  the  summum  bonwn),  and 
with  it  to  the  conditions  of  its  possibility,  the  ideas  of  God, 
freedom,  and  immortality,  but  always  only  relatively  to  the 
practice  of  the  moral  law  (and  not  for  any  speculative  purpose). 
According  to  these  remarks  it  is  now  easy  to  find  the  answer 
to  the  weighty  question  :  whether  the  notion  of  God  is  one  belt»i</- 
ing  to  Physics  (and  therefore  also  to  Metaphysics  (283),  which 
contains  the  pure  d  priori  principles  of  the  former  in  their  uni 
versal  import)  or  to  morals.  If  we  have  recourse  to  God  as  the 
Author  of  all  things,  in  order  to  explain  the  arrangements  of 
nature  or  its  changes,  this  is  at  least  not  a  physical  explanation, 
and  is  a  complete  confession  that  our  philosophy  has  come  to  an 
end.  since  wre  are  obliged  to  assume  something  of  which  in  itself 
we  have  otherwise  no  conception,  in  order  to  be  able  to  frame 
a  conception  of  the  possibility  of  what  we  see  before  our  eyes. 
Metaphysics,  however,  cannot  enable  us  to  attain  %  certain 
inference  from  the  knowledge  of  this  world  to  the  conception 
of  God  and  to  the  proof  of  His  existence,  for  this  reason,  that  in 
order  to  say  that  this  world  could  be  produced  only  by  a  God 
(according  to  the  conception  implied  by  this  word)  we  should 
know  this  world  as  the  most  perfect  whole  possible ;  and  for 
this  purpose  should  also  know  all  possible  worlds  (in  order  to  be 
able  to  compare  them  with  this) ;  in  other  words,  We  should  be 
omniscient.  It  is  absolutely  impossible,  however,  to  know  the 
existence  of  this  Being  from  mere  concepts,  because  every 

[284  ]  PUUE   PKACTICAL   EEASOX.  237 

existential  proposition,  that  is,  every  proposition  that  affirms 
the  existence  of  a  being  of  which  I  frame  a  concept,  is  a 
synthetic  proposition,  that  is,  one  by  which  I  go  beyond  that 
conception  and  affirm  of  it  more  than  was  thought  in  the 
conception  itself,  namely,  that  this  concept  in  the  understand 
ing  has  an  object  corresponding  to  it  outside  the  understanding, 
and  this  it  is  obviously  impossible  to  elicit  by  any  reasoning.  ^^ 
There  remains,  therefore,  only  one  single  process  possible  for 
reason  to  attain  this  knowledge,  namely,  to  start  from  the 
supreme  principle  of  its  pure  practical  use  (which  in  every 
case  is  directed  simply  to  the  existence  of  something  as  a 
consequence  of  reason),  and  thus  determine  its  object.  Then 
its  inevitable  problem,  namely,  the  necessary  direction  of  the 
will  to  the  summum  bonuni,  discovers  to  us  not  only  the 
necessity  of  assuming  such  a  First  Being  (234)  in  reference 
to  the  possibility  of  this  good  in  the  world,  but  what  is 
most  remarkable,  something  which  reason  in  its  progress  on 
the  path  of  physical  nature  altogether  failed  to  find,  namely, 
an  accurately  defined  conception  of  this  First  Being.  As 
we  can  know  only  a  small  part  of  this  world,  and  can  still 
less  compare  it  with  all  possible  worlds,  we  may  indeed  from 
its  order,  design,  and  greatness,  infer  a  wise,  good,  powerful, 
&c..  Author  of  it,  but  not  that  He  is  all-wise,  all-good,  all- 
powerful,  &c.  It  may  indeed,  very  well  be  granted  that  we 
should  be  justified  in  supplying  this  inevitable  defect  by  a 
legitimate  and  reasonable  hypothesis,  namely,  that  when 
wisdom,  goodness,  &c.,  are  displayed  in  all  the  parts  that 
oiler  themselves  to  our  nearer  knowledge,  it  is  just  the  same 
in  all  the  rest,  and  that  it  would  therefore  be  reasonable  to 
ascribe  all  possible  perfections  to  the  Author  of  the  world ; 
but  these  are  not  strict  logical  inferences  in  which  we  can 
pride  ourselves  on  our  insight,  but  only  permitted  con 
clusions  in  which  we  may  be  indulged,  and  which  require 
further  recommendation  before  we  can  make  use  of  them.  On 
the  path  of  empirical  inquiry  then  (physics)  the  conception 
of  God  remains  always  a  conception  of  the  perfection  of  the 
First  Being  not  accurately  enough  determined  to  be  held 

238  DIALECTIC   OF  ['285] 

adequate  to  the  conception  of  Deity.      (With  metaphysic  in  its 
transcendental  part  nothing  whatever  can  be  accomplished.) 

When  I  now  try  to  test  this  conception  by  reference  to 
the  object  of  practical  reason,  I  find  that  the  moral  principle 
admits  as  possible  only  the  conception  of  an  Author  of  the 
world  possessed  of  the  highest  perfection.  He  must  be  omni 
scient,  in  order  to  know  my  conduct  up  to  the  inmost  root 
of  my  mental  state  in  all  possible  cases  and  into  all  future 
time ;  omnipotent,  in  order  to  allot  to  it  its  fitting  conse 
quences  ;  similarly  He  must  be  omnipresent,  eternal,  &c.  Thus 
the  moral  law,  by  means  of  the  conception  of  the  summutn 
lonum  (235)  as  the  object  of  a  pure  practical  reason,  determines 
the  concept  of  the  First  Being  as  the  /Supreme  Being ;  a  thing 
which  the  physical  (and  in  its  higher  development  the  meta 
physical),  in  other  words,  the  whole  speculative  course  of 
reason,  was  unable  to  effect.  The  conception  of  God,  then, 
is  one  that  belongs  originally  not  to  physics,  i.e.  to  speculative 
reason,  but  to  morals.  The  same  may  be  said  of  the  other 
conceptions  of  reason  of  which  we  have  treated  above  as  postu 
lates  of  it  in  its  practical  use. 

In  the  history  of  Grecian  philosophy  we  find  no  distinct 
traces  of  a  pure  rational  theology  earlier  than  Anaxagoras ;  but 
this  is  not  because  the  older  philosophers  had  not  intelligence 
or  penetration  enough  to  raise  themselves  to  it  by  the  path  of 
speculation,  at  least  with  the  aid  of  a  thoroughly  reasonable 
hypothesis.  What  could  have  been  easier,  what  more  natural, 
than  the  thought  which  of  itself  occurs  to  everyone,  to  assume 
instead  of  several  causes  of  the  world,  instead  of  an  indeterminate 
degree  of  perfection,  a  single  rational  cause  having  all  perfection  ? 
But  the  evils  in  the  world  seemed  to  them  to  be  much  too  serious 
objections  to  allow  them  to  feel  themselves  justified  in  such  a 
hypothesis.  They  showed  intelligence  and  penetration  then  in 
this  very  point,  that  they  did  not  allow  themselves  to  adopt  it, 
but  on  the  contrary  looked  about  amongst  natural  causes  to  see 
if  they  could  not  find  in  them  the  qualities  and  power  required 
for  a  First  Being.  But  when  this  acute  people  had  advanced 
so  far  in  their  investigations  of  nature  as  to  treat  even  moral 

[287]  PUKE   PRACTICAL   EEASON.  239 

questions  philosophically,  on  which  other  nations  had  never 
done  anything  but  talk,  then  first  they  found  a  new  and 
practical  want,  which  did  not  fail  to  give  definiteness  to  their 
conception  of  the  First  Being :  and  in  this  the  speculative 
reason  played  the  part  of  spectator,  or  at  best  had  the  merit 
of  embellishing  a  conception  that  had  not  grown  on  its  own 
ground,  and  of  applying  a  series  of  confirmations  (286)  from 
the  study  of  nature  now  brought  forward  for  the  first  time,  not 
indeed  to  strengthen  the  authority  of  this  conception  (which 
was  already  established),  but  rather  to  make  a  show  with  a 
supposed  discovery  of  theoretical  reason. 

From  these  remarks  the  reader  of  the  Critique  of  Pure 
Speculative  Eeason  will  be  thoroughly  convinced  how  highly 
necessary  that  laborious  deduction  of  the  categories  was,  and 
how  fruitful  for  theology  and  morals.  For  if,  on  the  one  hand, 
we  place  them  in  the  pure  understanding,  it  is  by  this  deduction 
alone  that  we  can  be  prevented  from  regarding  them,  with 
Plato,  as  innate,  and  founding  on  them  extravagant  pretensions 
to  theories  of  the  supersensible,  to  which  we  can  see  no  end,  and 
by  which  we  should  make  theology  a  magic  lantern  of  chimeras  : 
on  the  other  hand,  if  we  regard  them  as  acquired,  this  deduction 
saves  us  from  restricting,  with  Epicurus,  all  and  every  use  of 
them,  even  for  practical  purposes,  to  the  objects  and  motives 
of  the  senses.  But  now  that  the  Critique  has  shown  by  that 
deduction,  first,  that  they  are  not  of  empirical  origin,  but  have 
their  seat  and  source  a  priori  in  the  pure  understanding;  secondly, 
that  as  they  refer  to  objects  in  general  independently  on  the 
intuition  of  them,  hence,  although  they  cannot  effect  theoretical 
knowledge,  except  in  application  to  empirical  objects,  yet  when 
applied  to  an  object  given  by  pure  practical  reason  they  enable 
us  to  conceive  the  supersensible  definitely,  only  so  far,  however,  as 
it  is  defined  by  such  predicates  as  are  necessarily  connected  with 
the  pure  practical  purpose  given  d  priori  and  with  its  possibility. 
The  speculative  restriction  of  pure  reason  and  its  practical 
extension  bring  it  into  that  (28?)  relation  of  equality  in  which 
reason  in  general  can  be  employed  suitably  to  its  end,  and  this 

240  DIALECTIC    OF  [288] 

example  proves  better  than  any  other  that  the  path  to  wisdom, 
if  it  is  to  be  made  sure  and  not  to  be  impassable  or  misleading, 
must  with  us  men  inevitably  pass  through  science ;  but  it  is 
not  till  this  is  completed  that  we  can  be  convinced  that  it 
leads  to  this  goal. 

VIII. — Of  Belief  from  a  Requirement  of  Pure  Reason. 

A  want  or  requirement  of  pure  reason  in  its  speculative  use 
leads  only  to  a  hypothesis]  that  of  pure  practical  reason  to  a 
postulate  ;  for  in  the  former  case  I  ascend  from  the  result  as  high 
as  I  please  in  the  series  of  causes,  not  in  order  to  give  objective 
reality  to  the  result  (e.g.  the  causal  connexion  of  things  and 
changes  -in  the  world),  but  in  order  thoroughly  to  satisfy  my 
inquiring  reason  in  respect  of  it.  Thus  I  see  before  me  order 
and  design  in  nature,  and  need  not  resort  to  speculation  to  assure 
myself  of  their  reality,  but  to  explain  them  I  have  to  prc-suppose 
a  Deity  as  their  cause  ;  and  then  since  the  inference  from  an 
effect  to  a  definite  cause  is  always  uncertain  and  doubtful, 
especially  to  a  cause  so  precise  and  so  perfectly  defined  as  we 
have  to  conceive  in  God,  hence  the  highest  degree  of  certainty  to 
which  this  pre-suppositiou  can  be  brought  is,  that  it  is  the  most 
rational  opinion  for  us  men1  (288).  On  the  other  hand,  a  require 
ment  of  pure  practical  reason  is  based  on  a  duty,  that  of  making 
something  (the  summum  bonum}  the  object  of  my  will  so  as  to 
promote  it  with  all  my  powers ;  in  which  case  I  must  suppose 
its  possibility,  and  consequently  also  the  conditions  necessary 

1  But  even  here  we  should  not  be  able  to  allege  a  requirement  of 
reason,  if  we  had  not  before  our  eyes  a  problematical,  but  yet  inevitable, 
conception  of  reason,  namely,  that  of  an  absolutely  necessary  being.  This 
conception  now  seeks  to  be  defined,  and  this,  in  addition  to  the  tendency 
to  extend  itself,  is  the  objective  ground  of  a  requirement  of  speculative 
reason,  namely,  to  have  a  more  precise  definition  of  the  conception  of  a 
necessary  being  which  is  to  serve  as  the  first  cause  of  other  beings,  so  as 
to  make  these*  latter  kinjwable  by  some  means.  Without  such  antecedent 
necessary  problems  there  are  no  requirements — at  least  not  of  pure  reason 
— the  rest  are  requirements  of  inclination. 

*  I  read  '  diesc '  with  the  cd.  of  1791.     Rosenkranz  and  Hartenstein  both  read  'dieses,' 
'this  being.' 

[289]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  241 

thereto,  namely,  God,  freedom,  and  immortality  ;  since  I  cannot 
prove  these  by  my  speculative  reason,  although  neither  can  1 
refute  them.  This  duty  is  founded  on  something  that  is  indeed 
quite  independent  on  these  suppositions,  and  is  of  itself  apodic- 
tically  certain,  namely,  the  moral  law ;  and  so  far  it  needs  no 
further  support  by  theoretical  views  as  to  the  inner  constitution 
of  things,  the  secret  final  aim  of  the  order  of  the  world,  or  a 
presiding  ruler  thereof,  in  order  to  bind  me  in  the  most  perfect 
manner  to  act  in  unconditional  conformity  to  the  law.  But  the 
subjective  effect  of  this  law,  namely,  the  mental  disposition  con 
formed  to  it  and  made  necessary  by  it,  to  promote  the  practically 
possible  summum  bonum,  this  pre-supposes  at  least  that  the  latter 
impossible,  for  itr  would  be  practically  impossible  to  strive  after 
the  object  of  a  conception  which  at  bottom  was  empty  and  had 
no  object.  Now  the  above-mentioned  postulates  concern  only 
the  physical  or  metaphysical  conditions  of  the  possibility  of  the 
summum  bonum  (239) ;  in  a  word,  those  which  lie  in  the  nature 
of  things ;  not,  however,  for  the  sake  of  an  arbitrary  speculative 
purpose,  but  of  a  practically  necessary  end  of  a  pure  rational 
will,  which  in  this  case  does  not  choose,  but  obeys  an  inexorable 
command  of  reason,  the  foundation  of  which  is  objective,  in  the 
constitution  of  things  as  they  must  be  universally  judged  by 
pure  reason,  and  is  not  based  on  inclination ;  for  we  are  in  no 
wise  justified  in  assuming,  on  account  of  what  we  wish  on  merely 
subjective  grounds,  that  the  means  thereto  are  possible  or  that  its 
object  is  real.  This,  then,  is  an  absolutely  necessary  requirement, 
and  what  it  pre-supposes  is  not  merely  justified  as  an  allowable 
hypothesis,  but  as  a  postulate  in  a  practical  point  of  view ;  and 
admitting  that  the  pure  moral  law  inexorably  binds  every  man 
as  a  command  (not  as  a  rule  of  prudence),  the  righteous  man 
may  say :  I  will  that  there  be  a  God,  that  my  existence  in  this 
world  be  also  an  existence  outside  the  chain  of  physical  causes, 
and  in  a  pure  world  of  the  understanding,  and  lastly,  that  my 
duration  be  endless  ;  I  firmly  abide  by  this,  and  will  not  let  this 
faith  be  taken  from  me  ;  for  in  this  instance  alone  my  interest, 
because  I  must  not  relax  anything  of  it,  inevitably  determines 
my  judgment,  without  regarding  sophistries,  however  unable 

242  DIALECTIC   OF  [2!)0] 

1  may  be  to  answer  them  or  to  oppose  them  with  others  more 

(290)  In  order  to  prevent  misconception  in  the  use  of  a  notion 
as  yet  so  unusual  as  that  of  a  faith  of  pure  practical  reason,  let 
me  be  permitted  to  add  one  more  remark.  It  might  almost 
seem  as  if  this  rational  faith  were  here  announced  as  itself  a 
command,  namely,  that  we  should  assume  the  summum  bonum  as 
possible.  But  a  faith  that  is  commanded  is  nonsense.  Let  the 
preceding  analysis,  however,  be  remembered  of  what  is  required 
to  be  supposed  in  the  conception  of  the  summum  bonum,  and  it 
will  be  seen  that  it  cannot  be  commanded  to  assume  this  possi 
bility,  and  no  practical  disposition  of  mind  is  required  to  admit 
it ;  but  that  speculative  reason  must  concede  it  without  being 
asked,  for  no  one  can  affirm  that  it  is  impossible  in  itself  that 
rational  beings  in  the  world  should  at  the  same  time  be  worthy 
of  happiness  in  conformity  with  the  moral  law,  and  also  possess 
this  happiness  proportionately.  Now  in  respect  of  the  first 
element  of  the  summum  bonum,  namely,  that  which  concerns 

1  In  the  Deutsches  Museum,  February,  1787,  there  is  a  dissertation 
by  a  very  subtle  and  clear-headed  man,  the  late  Wizenmann,  whose  early 
death  is  to  be  lamented,  in  which  he  disputes  the  right  to  argue  from  a 
want  to  the  objective  reality  of  its  object,  and  illustrates  the  point  by  the 
example  of  a  man  in  love,  who,  having  fooled  himself  into  an  idea  of 
beauty,  which  is  merely  a  chimera  of  his  own  brain,  would  fain  conclude 
that  such  an  object  really  exists  somewhere  (290).  I  quite  agree  with 
him  in  this,  in  all  cases  where  the  want  is  founded  on  inclination,  which 
cannot  necessarily  postulate  the  existence  of  its  object  even  for  the  man 
that  is  affected  by  it,  much  less  can  it  contain  a  demand  valid  for  every 
one,  and  therefore  it  is  merely  a  subjective  ground  of  the  wish.  But  in  the 
present  case  we  have  a  want  of  reason  springing  from  an  objective  deter 
mining  principle  of  the  will,  namely,  the  moral  law,  which  necessarily 
binds  every  rational  being,  and  therefore  justifies  him  in  assuming 
a  priori  in  nature  the  conditions  proper  for  it,  and  makes  the  latter 
inseparable  from  the  complete  practical  use  of  reason.  It  is  a  duty  to 
realize  the  summum  bonum  to  the  utmost  of  our  power,  therefore  it  must 
be  possible,  consequently  it  is  unavoidable  for  every  rational  being  in  the 
world  to  assume  what  is  necessary  for  its  objective  possibility.  The 
assumption  is  as  necessary  as  the  moral  law,  in  connexion  with  which 
alone  it  is  valid. 

[292]  PURE  PRACTICAL   KEASON.  243 

morality,  the  moral  law  gives  merely  a  command,  and  to  doubt 
the  possibility  of  that  element  would  be  the  same  as  to  call  in 
question  the  moral  law  itself  (291).  But  as  regards  the  second 
element  of  that  object,  namely,  happiness  perfectly  proportioned 
to  that  worthiness,  it  is  true  that  there  is  no  need  of  a  command 
to  admit  its  possibility  in  general,  for  theoretical  reason  has 
nothing  to  say  against  it ;  but  the  manner  in  which  we  have  to 
conceive  this  harmony  of  the  laws  of  nature  with  those  of 
freedom  has  in  it  something  in  respect  of  which  we  have  a 
choice,  because  theoretical  reason  decides  nothing  with  apodictic 
certainty  about  it,  and  in  respect  of  this  there  may  be  a  moral 
interest  which  turns  the  scale. 

I  had  said  above  that  in  a  mere  course  of  nature  in  the  world 
an  accurate  correspondence  between  happiness  and  moral  worth 
is  not  to  be  expected,  and  must  be  regarded  as  impossible,  and 
that  therefore  the  possibility  of  the  summum  bonum  cannot  be 
admitted  from  this  side  except  on  the  supposition  of  a  moral 
Author  of  the  world.  I  purposely  reserved  the  restriction  of  this 
judgment  to  the  subjective  conditions  of  our  reason,  in  order  not 
to  make  use  of  it  until  the  manner  of  this  belief  should  be 
defined  more  precisely.  The  fact  is  that  the  impossibility 
referred  to  is  merely  subjective,  that  is,  our  reason  finds  it 
impossible  for  it  to  render  conceivable  in  the  way  of  a  mere 
course  of  nature  a  connexion  so  exactly  proportioned  and  so 
thoroughly  adapted  to  an  end,  between  two  sets  of  events 
happening  according  to  such  distinct  laws ;  although,  as  with 
everything  else  in  nature  that  is  adapted  to  an  end,  it  cannot 
prove,  that  is,  show  by  sufficient  objective  reasons,  that  it  is  not 
possible  by  universal  laws  of  nature. 

Now,  however,  a  deciding  principle,  of  a  different  kind 
comes  into  play  to  turn  the  scale  in  this  uncertainty  of  specu 
lative  reason.  The  command  to  promote  the  summum  bonum  is 
established  on  an  objective  basis  (in  practical  reason) ;  the  pos 
sibility  of  the  same  in  general  is  likewise  established  on  an 
objective  basis  (292)  (in  theoretical  reason,  which  has  nothing  to 
say  against  it).  But  reason  cannot  decide  objectively  in  what 
way  we  are  to  conceive  this  possibility  ;  whether  by  universal 


244  DIALECTIC    OF  [-293] 

laws  of  nature  without  a  wise  Author  presiding  over  nature, 
or  only  on  supposition  of  such  an  Author.  Now  here  there 
comes  in  a  subjective  condition  of  reason  ;  the  only  way  theo 
retically  possible  for  it,  of  conceiving  the  exact  harmony  of  the 
kingdom  of  nature  with  the  kingdom  of  morals,  which  is  the 
condition  of  the  possibility  of  the  sumnmm  bonuni;  and  at  the 
same  time  the  only  one  conducive  to  morality  (which  depends 
on  an  objective  law  of  reason).  Now  since  the  promotion  of  this 
summum  bonnm,  and  therefore  the  supposition  of  its  possibility, 
are  objectively  necessary  (though  only  as  a  result  of  practical 
reason),  while  at  the  same  time  the  manner  in  which  we  would 
conceive  it  rests  with  our  own  choice,  and  in  this  choice  a  free 
interest  of  pure  practical  reason  decides  for  the  assumption  of  a 
wise  Author  of  the  world ;  it  is  clear  that  the  principle  that 
herein  determines  our  judgment,  though  as  a  want  it  is  sub 
jective,  yet  at  the  same  time  being  the  means  of  promoting  what 
is  objectively  (practically)  necessary,  is  the  foundation  of  a  maxim 
of  belief  in  a  moral  point  of  view,  that  is,  a  faith  of  pure  practical 
reason.  This,  then,  is  not  commanded,  but  being  a  voluntary 
determination  of  our  judgment,  conducive  to  the  moral  (com 
manded)  purpose,  and  moreover  harmonizing  with  the  theoretical 
requirement  of  reason,  to  assume  that  existence  and  to  make  it 
the  foundation  of  our  further  employment  of  reason,  it  has  itself 
sprung  from  the  moral  disposition  of  mind ;  it  may  therefore  at 
times  waver  even  in  the  well-disposed,  but  can  never  be  reduced 
to  unl>elief. 

(203)  IX. —  Of  the  Wise  Adaptation  of  Man's  Cognitive  Faculties 
to  his  Practical  Destination. 

If  human  nature  is  destined  to  endeavour  after  the  svmmum 
bonum,  we  must  suppose  also  that  the  measure  of  its  cognitive 
faculties,  and  particularly  their  relation  to  one  another,  is  suitable 
to  this  end.  Now  the  Critique  of  Pure  Speculative  Eeason  proves 
that  this  is  incapable  of  solving  satisfactorily  the  most  weighty 
problems  that  are  proposed  to  it,  although  it  does  not  ignore  the 
natural  and  important  hints  received  from  the  same  reason,  nor 
the  great  steps  that  it  can  make  to  approach  to  this  great  goal 

[294]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  245 

that  is  set  beforq  it,  which,  however,  it  can  never  reach  of  itself, 
even  with  the  help  of  the  greatest  knowledge  of  nature.  Nature 
then  seems  here  to  have  provided  us  only  in  a  step-mother! // 
fashion  with  the  faculty  required  for  our  end. 

Suppose  now  that  in  this  matter  nature  had  conformed  to 
our  wish,  and  had  given  us  that  capacity  of  discernment  or  that 
enlightenment  which  we  would  gladly  possess,  or  which  some 
imagine  they  actually  possess,  what  would  in  all  probability  be 
the  consequence  ?  Unless  our  whole  nature  were  at  the  same 
time  changed,  our  inclinations,  which  always  have  the  first 
word,  would  first  of  all  demand  their  own  satisfaction,  and, 
joined  with  rational  reflection,  the  greatest  possible  and  most 
lasting  satisfaction,  under  the  name  of  happiness ;  the  moral 
law  (204)  would  afterwards  speak,  in  order  to  keep  them  within 
their  proper  bounds,  and  even  to  subject  them  all  to  a  higher 
end,  which  has  no  regard  to  inclination.  But  instead  of  the 
conflict  that  the  moral  disposition  has  now  to  carry  OH  with  the 
inclinations,  in  which,  though  after  some  defeats,  moral  strength 
of  mind  may  be  gradually  acquired,  God  and  eternity  with  their 
awful  majesty  would  stand  unceasingly  before  our  eyes  (for  what 
we  can  prove  perfectly  is  to  us  as  certain  as  that  of  which  we 
are  assured  by  the  sight  of  our  eyes).  Transgression  of  the 
law,  would,  no  doubt,  be  avoided ;  what  is  commanded  would 
be  done;  but  the  mental  disposition,  from  which  actions  ought 
to  proceed,  cannot  be  infused  by  any  command,  and  in  this  case 
the  spur  of  action  is  ever  active  and  external,  so  that  reason 
has  no  need  to  exert  itself  in  order  to  gather  strength  to  resist 
the  inclinations  by  a  lively  representation  of  the  dignity  of 
the  law  :  hence  most  of  the  actions  that  conformed  to  the  law 
would  be  done  from  fear,  a  few  only  from  hope,  and  none  at  all 
from  duty,  and  the  moral  worth  of  actions,  on  which  alone  in 
the  eyes  of  supreme  wisdom  the  worth  of  the  person  and  even 
that  of  the  world  depends,  would  cease  to  exist.  As  long  as 
the  nature  of  man  remains  what  it  is,  his  conduct  would  thus 
be  changed  into  mere  mechanism,  in  which,  as  in  a  puppet- 
show,  everything  would  gesticulate,  well,  but  there  would  be 
no  life  in  the  figures.  Now,  when  it  is  quite  otherwise  with 


us,  when  with  all  the  effort  of  our  reason  we  have  only  a  very 
obscure  and  doubtful  view  into  the  future,  when  the  Governor 
of  the  world  allows  us  only  to  conjecture  His  existence  and  His 
majesty,  not  to  behold  them  or  prove  them  clearly;  and, on  the 
other  hand,  the  moral  law  within  us,  without  promising  or 
threatening  anything  with  certainty,  demands  of  us  disinterested 
respect ;  and  only  when  this  respect  has  become  active  (295) 
and  dominant  does  it  allow  us  by  means  of  it  a  prospect  into 
the  world  of  the  supersensible,  and  then  only  with  weak  glances ; 
all  this  being  so,  there  is  room  for  true  moral  disposition,  imme 
diately  devoted  to  the  law.  and  a  rational  creature  can  become 
worthy  of  sharing  in  the  summum  bonum  that  corresponds  to 
the  worth  of  his  person  and  not  merely  to  his  actions.  Thus 
whafc  the  study  of  nature  and  of  man  teaches  us  sufficiently 
elsewhere  may  well  be  true  here  also ;  that  the  unsearchable 
wisdom  by  which  we  exist  is  not  less  worthy  of  admiration  in 
what  it  has  denied  than  in  what  it  has  granted. 






BY  the  methodology  of  pure  practical  reason  we  are  not  to 
understand  the  mode  of  proceeding  with  pure  practical 
principles  (whether  in  study  or  in  exposition),  with  a  view  to  a 
scientific  knowledge  of  them,  which  alone  is  what  is  properly 
called  method  elsewhere  in  theoretical  philosophy  (for  popular 
knowledge  requires  a  manner,  science  a  method,  i.e.  a  process 
according  to  principles  of  reason  by  which  alone  the  manifold  of 
any  branch  of  knowledge  can  become  a  system).  On  the  con 
trary,  by  this  methodology  is  understood  the  mode  in  which1  we 
can  give  the  laws  of  pure  practical  reason  access  to  the  human 
mind,  and  influence  on  its  maxims,  that  is,  by  which  we  can 
make  the  objectively  practical  reason  subjectively  practical  also. 
Now  it  is  clear  enough  that  those  determining  principles  of 
the  will  which  alone  make  maxims  properly  moral  and  give 
them  a  moral  worth,  namely,  the  direct  conception  of  the  law 
and  the  objective  necessity  of  obeying  it  as  our  duty,  must  be 
regarded  as  the  proper  springs  of  action,  since  otherwise  legality 
of  actions  might  be  produced,  but  not  morality  of  character. 
But  it  is  not  so  clear :  on  the  contrary,  it  must  at  first  sight  seem 
to  everyone  very  improbable  that,  even  subjectively,  that  exhi 
bition  of  pure  virtue  can  have  more  power  over  the  human  mind, 

1  [Read  '  wie  '  for  'die.'] 

250  METHODOLOGY   OF  [30l] 

and  supply  a  far  stronger  spring  even  for  affecting  that  legality  of 
actions,  and  can  produce  more  powerful  resolutions  (300)  to  prefer 
the  law,  from  pure  respect  for  it,  to  every  other  consideration, 
than  all  the  deceptive  allurements  of  pleasure  or  of  all  that  may 
be  reckoned  as  happiness,  or  even  than  all  threatenings  of  pain 
and  misfortune.  Nevertheless,  this  is  actually  the  case,  and  if 
human  nature  were  not  so  constituted,  no  mode  of  presenting 
the  law  by  roundabout  ways  and  indirect  recommendations 
would  ever  produce  morality  of  character.  All  would  be  simple 
hypocrisy ;  the  law  would  be  hated,  or  at  least  despised,  while  it 
was  followed  for  the  sake  of  one's  own  advantage.  The  letter 
of  the  law  (legality)  would  be  found  in  our  actions,  but  not  the 
spirit  of  it  in  our  minds  (morality) ;  and  as  with  all  our  efforts 
we  could  not  quite  free  ourselves  from  reason  in  our  judgment, 
we  must  inevitably  appear  in  our  own  eyes  worthless,  depraved 
men,  even  though  we  should  seek  to  compensate  ourselves  for 
this  mortification  before  the  inner  tribunal,  by  enjoying  the 
pleasure  that  a  supposed  natural  or  divine  law  might  be  imagined 
to  have  connected  with  it  a  sort  of  police  machinery,  regulating 
its  operations  by  what  was  done  without  troubling  itself  about 
the  motives  for  doing  it. 

It  cannot  indeed  be  denied  that  in  order  to  bring  an  uncul 
tivated  or  degraded  mind  into  the  track  of  moral  goodness  some 
preparatory  guidance  is  necessary,  to  attract  it  by  a  view  of 
its  own  advantage,  or  to  alarm  it  by  fear  of  loss ;  but  as  soon  as 
this  mechanical  work,  these  leading-strings,  have  produced  some 
effect,  then  we  must  bring  before  the  mind  the  pure  moral  motive, 
which,  not  only  because  it  is  the  only  one  that  can  be  the  foun 
dation  of  a  character  (a  practically  consistent  habit  of  mind  with 
unchangeable  maxims)  (301),  but  also  because  it  teaches  a  man 
to  feel  his  own  dignity,  gives  the  mind  a  j>ower  unexpected  even 
by  himself,  to  tear  himself  from  all  sensible  attachments  so  far 
as  they  would  fain  have  the  rule,  and  to  find  a  rich  compensation 
for  the  sacrifice  he  offers,  in  the  independence  of  his  rational 
nature  and  the  greatness  of  soul  to  which  he  sees  that  he  is 
destined.  We  will  therefore  show,  by  such  observations  as  every 
one  can  make,  that  this  property  of  our  minds,  this  receptivity 


for  a  pure  moral  interest,  and  consequently  the  moving  force  of 
the  pure  conception  of  virtue,  when  it  is  properly  applied  to  the 
human  heart,  is  the  most  powerful  spring,  and,  when  a  continued 
and  punctual  observance  of  moral  maxims  is  in  question,  the 
only  spring  of  good  conduct.  It  must,  however,  be  remembered 
that  if  these  observations  only  prove  the  reality  of  such  a  feeling, 
but  do  not  show  any  moral  improvement  brought  about  by  it, 
this  is  no  argument  against  the  only  method  that  exists  of 
making  the  objectively  practical  laws  of  pure  reason  subjectively 
practical,  through  the  mere  force  of  the  conception  of  duty ;  nor 
does  it  prove  that  this  method  is  a  vain  delusion.  For  as  it  has 
never  yet  come  into  vogue,  experience  can  say  nothing  of  its 
results ;  one  can  only  ask  for  proofs  of  the  receptivity  for  such 
springs,  and  these  I  will  now  briefly  present,  and  then  sketch 
the  method  of  founding  and  cultivating  genuine  moral  dis 

When  we  attend  to  the  course  of  conversation  in  mixed 
companies,  consisting  not  merely  of  learned  persons  and  subtle 
reasoners,  but  also  of v  men  of  business  or  of  women,  we  observe 
that,  besides  story-telling  and  jesting,  another  kind  of  enter 
tainment  finds  a  place  in  them,  namely,  argument ;  for  stories,  if 
they  are  to  have  novelty  and  interest,  are  soon  exhausted,  and 
jesting  is  likely  to  become  insipid  (302).  Now  of  all  argument 
there  is  none  in  which  persons  are  more  ready  to  join  who  find 
any  other  subtle  discussion  tedious,  none  that  brings  more  liveli 
ness  into  the  company,  than  that  which  concerns  the  moral  worth 
of  this  or  that  action  by  which  the  character  of  some  person  is 
to  be  made  out.  Persons,  to  whom  in  other  cases  anything 
subtle  and  speculative  in  theoretical  questions  is  dry  and  irksome, 
presently  join  in  when  the  question  is  to  make  out  the  moral 
import  of  a  good  or  bad  action  that  has  been  related,  and  they 
display  an  exactness,  a  refinement,  a  subtlety,  in  excogitating 
everything  that  can  lessen  the  purity  of  purpose,  and  conse 
quently  the  degree  of  virtue  in  it,  which  we  do  not  expect  from 
them  in  any  other  kind  of  speculation.  In  these  criticisms 
persons  who  are  passing  judgment  on  others  often  reveal  their 
own  character :  some,  in  exercising  their  judicial  office,  especially 

252  METHODOLOGY   OF  [303] 

upon  the  dead,  seem  inclined  chiefly  to  defend  the  goodness  that 
is  related  of  this  or  that  deed  against  all  injurious  charges  of 
insincerity,  and  ultimately  to  defend  the  whole  moral  worth  of 
the  person  against  the  reproach  of  dissimulation  and  secret 
wickedness ;  others,  on  the  contrary,  turn  their  thoughts  more 
upon  attacking  this  worth  by  accusation  and  fault-finding.  We 
cannot  always,  however,  attribute  to  these  latter  the  intention 
of  arguing  away  virtue  altogether  out  of  all  human  examples 
in  order  to  make  it  an  empty  name  :  often,  on  the  contrary,  it  is 
only  well-meant  strictness  in  determining  the  true  moral  import 
of  actions  according  to  an  uncompromising  law.  Comparison 
with  such  a  law,  instead  of  with  examples,  lowers  self-conceit  in 
moral  matters  very  much,  and  not  merely  teaches  humility, 
but  makes  everyone  feel  it  when  he  examines  himself  closely. 
Nevertheless,  we  can  for  the  most  part  observe  in  those  who 
defend  the  purity  of  purpose  in  given  examples,  that  where 
there  is  the  presumption  of  uprightness  (303)  they  are  anxious 
to  remove  even  the  least  spot,  lest,  if  all  examples  had  their 
truthfulness  disputed,  and  if  the  purity  of  all  human  virtue  were 
denied,  it  might  in  the  end  be  regarded  as  a  mere  phantom,  and 
so  all  effort  to  attain  it  be  made  light  of  as  vain  affectation  and 
delusive  conceit. 

I  do  not  know  why  the  educators  of  youth  have  not  long  since 
made  use  of  this  propensity  of  reason  to  enter  writh  pleasure  upon 
the  most  subtle  examination  of  the  practical  questions  that  are 
thrown  up ;  and  why  they  have  not,  after  first  laying  the  foun 
dation  of  a  purely  moral  catechism,  searched  through  the  bio 
graphies  of  ancient  and  modern  times  with  the  view  of  having 
at  hand  instances  of  the  duties  laid  dowyn,  in  which,  especially  by 
comparison  of  similar  actions  under  different  circumstances,  they 
might  exercise  the  critical  judgment  of  their  scholars  in  remark 
ing  their  greater  or  less  moral  significance.  This  is  a  thing  in 
which  they  would  find  that  even  early  youth,  which  is  still  unripe 
for  speculation  of  other  kinds,  would  soon  become  very  acute  and 
not  a  little  interested,  because  it  feels  the  progress  of  its  faculty 
of  judgment;  and  what  is  most  important,  they  could  hope  with 
confidence  that  the  frequent  practice  of  knowing  and  approving 

[304]  PURE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  253 

good  conduct  in  all  its  purity,  and  on  the  other  hand  of  remarking 
witli  regret  or  contempt  the  least  deviation  from  it,  although  it 
may  be  pursued  only  as  a  sport  in  which  children  may  compete 
with  one  another,  yet  will  leave  a  lasting  impression  of  esteem 
on  the  one  hand  and  disgust  on  the  other ;  and  so,  by  the  mere 
habit  of  looking  on  such  actions  as  deserving  approval  or  blame, 
a  good  foundation  would  be  laid  for  uprightness  in  the  future 
course  of  life  (304).  Only  I  wish  they  would  spare  them  the 
example  of  so-called  nolle  (super-meritorious)  actions  in  which 
our  sentimental  books  so  much  abound,  and  would  refer  all  to 
duty  merely,  and  to  the  worth  that  a  man  can  and  must  give 
himself  in  his  own  eyes  by  the  consciousness  of  not  having 
transgressed  it,  since  whatever  runs  up  into  empty  wishes  and 
longings  after  inaccessible  perfection  produces  mere  heroes  of 
romance,  who,  while  they  pique  themselves  on  their  feeling  for 
transcendent  greatness,  release  -themselves  in  return  from  the 
observance  of  common  and  every-day  obligations,  which  then 
seem  to  them  petty  and  insignificant.1 

But  if  it  is  asked,  what  then  is  really  pure  morality,  by 
which  as  a  touchstone  we  must  test  the  moral  significance  of 
every  action,  then  I  must  admit  that  it  is  only  philosophers  that 
can  make  the  decision  of  this  question  doubtful,  for  to  common 
sense  it  has  been  decided  long  ago,  not  indeed  by  abstract  general 
formula,  but  by  habitual  use,  like  the  distinction  between  the 
right  and  left  hand.  We  will  then  point  out  the  criterion  of 
pure  virtue  in  an  example  first,  and  imagining  that  it  is  set 

1  It  is  quite  proper  to  extol  actions  that  display  a  great,  unselfish, 
sympathizing  mind  or  humanity.  But  in  this  case  we  must  fix  attention 
not  so  much  on  the  elevation  of  soul,  which  is  very  fleeting  and  transitory, 
as  on  the  subjection  of  the  heart  to  duty,  from  which  a  more  enduring 
impression  may  be  expected,  because  this  implies  principle  (whereas  the 
former  only  implies  ebullitions).  One  need  only  reflect  a  little  and  he 
will  always  find  a  debt  that  he  has  by  some  means  incurred  towards  the 
human  race  (even  if  it  were  only  this,  that  by  the  inequality  of  men  in 
the  civil  constitution  he  enjoys  advantages  on  account  of  which  others 
must  be  the  more  in  want),  which  will  prevent  the  thought  of  duty  from 
being  repressed  by  the  self-complacent  imagination  of  merit. 

254  METHODOLOGY   OF  [306] 

before  a  boy  of,  say,  ten  years  old,  for  his  judgment,  we  will  see 
whether  (305)  he  would  necessarily  judge  so  of  himself  without 
being  guided  by  his  teacher.  Tell  him  the  history  of  an  honest 
man  whom  men  want  to  persuade  to  join  the  calumniators  of 
an  innocent  and  powerless  person  (say,  Anne  Boleyn,  accused 
by  Henry  VIII  of  England).  He  is  offered  advantages,  great 
gifts,  or  high  rank  ;  he  rejects  them.  This  will  excite  mere 
approbation  and  applause  in  the  mind  of  the  hearer.  Now 
begins  the  threatening  of  loss.  Amongst  these  traducers  are 
his  best  friends,  who  now  renounce  his  friendship ;  near  kinsfolk, 
who  threaten  to  disinherit  him  (he  being  without  fortune): 
powerful  persons,  who  can  persecute  and  harass  him  in  all  places 
and  circumstances;  a  prince  who  threatens  him  with  loss  of 
freedom,  yea,  loss  of  life.  Then  to  fill  the  measure  of  suffering, 
and  that  he  may  feel  the  pain  that  only  the  morally  good  heart 
can  feel  very  deeply,  let  us  conceive  his  family  threatened  with 
extreme  distress  and  want,  entreating  him  to  yield]  conceive 
himself,  though  upright,  yet  with  feelings  not  hard  or  insensible 
either  to  compassion  or  to  his  own  distress ;  conceive  him,  I  say, 
at  the  moment  when  he  wishes  that  he  had  never  lived  to  see 
the  day  that  exposed  him  to  such  unutterable  anguish,  yet 
remaining  true  to  his  uprightness  of  purpose,  without  wavering 
or  even  doubting;  then  will  my  youthful  hearer  be  raised 
gradually  from  mere  approval  to  admiration,  from  that  to 
amazement,  and  finally  to  the  greatest  veneration,  and  a  lively 
wish  that  he  himself  could  be  such  a  man  (though  certainly  not 
in  such  circumstances).  Yet  virtue  is  here  worth  so  much  only 
because  it  costs  so  much,  not  because  it  brings  any  profit.  All  the 
admiration,  and  even  the  endeavour  to  resemble  this  character, 
rest  wholly  on  the  purity  of  the  moral  principle,  which  can  only 
be  strikingly  shown  (soe)  by  removing  from  the  springs  of 
action  everything  that  men  may  regard  as  part  of  happiness. 
Morality  then  must  have  the  more  power  over  the  human  heart 
the  more  purely  it  is  exhibited.  Whence  it  follows  that  if  the 
law  of  morality  and  the  image  of  holiness  and  virtue  are  to 
exercise  any  influence  at  all  on  our  souls,  they  can  do  so  only 
so  far  as  they  are  laid  to  heart  in  their  purity  as  motives, 

[307]  PUKE   PRACTICAL   REASON.  255 

unmixed  with  any  view  to  prosperity,  for  it  is  in  suffering  that 
they  display  themselves  most  nobly.  Now  that  whose  removal 
strengthens  the  effect  of  a  moving  force  must  have  been  a 
hindrance,  consequently  every  admixture  of  motives  taken  from 
our  own  happiness  is  a  hindrance  to  the  influence  of  the  moral 
law  on  the  heart.  I  affirm  further,  that  even  in  that  admired 
action,  if  the  motive  from  which  it  was  done  was  a  high  regard 
for  duty,  then  it  is  just  this  respect  for  the  law  that  has  the 
greatest  influence  on  the  mind  of  the  spectator,  not  any  preten 
sion  to  a  supposed  inward  greatness  of  niind  or  noble  meritorious 
sentiments  ;  consequently  duty,  not  merit,  must  have  not  only 
the  most  definite,  but,  when  it  is  represented  in  the  true  light  of 
its  inviolability,  the  most  penetrating  influence  on  the  mind. 

It  is  more  necessary  than  ever  to  direct  attention  to  this 
method  in  our  times,  when  men  hope  to  produce  more  effect  on 
the  mind  with  soft,  tender  feelings,  or  high-flown,  puffing-up 
pretensions,  which  rather  wither  the  heart  than  strengthen  it, 
than  by  a  plain  and  earnest  representation  of  duty,  which  is 
more  suited  to  human  imperfection  and  to  progress  in  goodness. 
To  set  before  children,  as  a  pattern,  actions  that  are  called  noble, 
magnanimous,  meritorious,  with  the  notion  of  captivating  them 
by  infusing  an  enthusiasm  for  such  actions,  is  to  defeat  our 
end  (307).  For  as  they  are  still  so  backward  in  the  observance 
of  the  commonest  duty,  and  even  in  the  correct  estimation  of  it, 
this  means  simply  to  make  them  fantastical  romancers  betimes. 
But,  even  with  the  instructed  and  experienced  part  of  mankind, 
this  supposed  spring  has,  if  not  an  injurious,  at  least  no  genuine 
moral  effect  on  the  heart,  which,  however,  is  what  it  was  desired 
to  produce. 

All  feelings,  especially  those  that  are  to  produce  unwonted 
exertions,  must  accomplish  their  effect  at  the  moment  they  are 
at  their  height,  and  before  they  calm  down ;  otherwise  they  effect 
nothing ;  for  as  there  was  nothing  to  strengthen  the  heart,  but 
only  to  excite  it,  it  naturally  returns  to  its  normal  moderate 
tone,  and  thus  falls  back  into  its  previous  languor.  Principles 
must  be  built  on  conceptions  ;  on  any  other  basis  there  can  only 
be  paroxysms,  which  can  give  the  person  no  moral  worth,  nay, 

256  METHODOLOGY   OF  [308] 

not  even  confidence  in  himself,  without  which  the  highest  good 
in  man,  consciousness  of  the  morality  of  his  mind  and  character, 
cannot  exist.  Now  if  these  conceptions  are  to  become  subjec 
tively  practical,  we  must  not  rest  satisfied  with  admiring  the 
objective  law  of  morality,  and  esteeming  it  highly  in  reference 
to  humanity,  but  we  must  consider  the  conception  of  it  in 
relation  to  man  as  an  individual,  and  then  this  law  appears  in  a 
form  indeed  that  is  highly  deserving  of  respect,  but  not  so 
pleasant  as  if  it  belonged  to  the  element  to  which  he  is  naturally 
accustomed,  but,  on  the  contrary,  as  often  compelling  him  to 
quit  this  element,  not  without  self-denial,  and  to  betake  himself 
to  a  higher,  in  which  he  can  only  maintain  himself  with  trouble 
and  with  unceasing  apprehension  of  a  relapse.  In  a  word,  the 
moral  law  demands  (sos)  obedience,  from  duty,  not  from  predi 
lection,  which  cannot  and  ought  not  to  be  pre-supposed  at  all. 

Let  us  now  see  in  an  example  whether  the  conception  of  an 
action  as  a  noble  and  magnanimous  one  has  more  subjective 
moving  power  than  if  the  action  is  conceived  merely  as  duty  in 
relation  to  the  solemn  law  of  morality.  The  action  by  which  a 
man  endeavours  at  the  greatest  peril  of  life  to  rescue  people 
from  shipwreck,  at  last  losing  his  life  in  the  attempt,  is  reckoned 
on  one  side  as  duty,  but  on  the  other  and  for  the  most  part  as  a 
meritorious  action,  but  our  esteem  for  it  is  much  weakened  by 
the  notion  of  duty  to  himself,  which  seems  in  this  case  to  be  some 
what  infringed.  More  decisive  is  the  magnanimous  sacrifice  of 
life  for  the  safety  of  one's  country  ;  and  yet  there  still  remains 
some  scruple  whether  it  is  a  perfect  duty  to  devote  one's  self  to 
this  purpose  spontaneously  and  unbidden,  and  the  action  has 
not  in  itself  the  full  force  of  a  pattern  and  impulse  to  imitation. 
But  if  an  indispensable  duty  be  in  question,  the  transgression 
of  which  violates  the  moral  law  itself,  and  without  regard  to  the 
welfare  of  mankind,  and  as  it  were  tramples  on  its  holiness  (such 
as  are  usually  called  duties  to  God,  because  in  Him  we  conceive 
the  ideal  of  holiness  in  substance),  then  we  give  our  most  perfect 
esteem  to  the  pursuit  of  it  at  the  sacrifice  of  all  that  can  have 
any  value  for  the  dearest  inclinations,  and  we  find  our  soul 
strengthened  and  elevated  by  such  an  example,  when  we  convince 

[309]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  257 

ourselves  by  contemplation  of  it  that  human  nature  ^  capable 
of  so  great  an  elevation  above  every  motive  that  nature  can 
oppose  to  it.  Juvenal  describes  such  an  example  in  a  climax 
which  makes  the  reader  feel  vividly  the  force  of  the  spring  that 
is  contained  in  the  pure  law  of  duty,  as  duty  : 

(309)  Esto  bonus  miles,  tutor  bonus,  arbiter  idem 
Integer  ;  ambiguae  si  quando  citabere  testis 
Incertaeque  rei,  Phalaris  licet  imperet  ut  sis 
Falsus,  et  admoto  dictet  periuria  tauro, 
Summum  crede  nefas  animam  praeferre  pudori, 
Et  propter  vitam  vivendi  perdere  causas. 

When  we  can  bring  any  nattering  thought  of  merit  into  our 
action,  then  the  motive  is  already  somewhat  alloyed  with  self- 
love,  and  has  therefore  some  assistance  from  the  side  of  the 
sensibility.  But  to  postpone  everything  to  the  holiness  of  duty 
alone,  and  to  be  conscious  that  we  can  because  our  own  reason 
recognizes  this  as  its  command  and  says  that  we  ought  to  do  it, 
this  is,  as  it  were,  to  raise  ourselves  altogether  above  the  world 
of  sense,  and  there  is  inseparably  involved  in  the  same  a  con 
sciousness  of  the  law,  as  a  spring  of  a  faculty  that  controls  the 
sensibility;  and  although  this  is  not  always  attended  with 
effect,  yet  frequent  engagement  with  this  spring,  and  the  at 
first  minor  attempts  at  using  it,  give  hope  that  this  effect  may 
be  wrought,  and  that  by  degrees  th&  greatest,  and  that  a  purely 
moral  interest  in  it  may  be  produced  in  us. 

The  method  then  takes  the  following  course.  At  first  we 
are  only  concerned  to  make  the  judging  of  actions  by  moral 
laws  a  natural  employment  accompanying  all  our  own  free 
actions  as  well  as  the  observation  of  those  of  others,  and  to 
make  it,  as  it  were,  a  habit,  and  to  sharpen  this  judgment,  asking 
first  whether  the  action  conforms  objectively  to  the  moral  law, 
and  to  what  law;  and  we  distinguish  the  law  that  merely 
furnishes  a  principle  of  obligation  from  that  which  is  really 
obligatory  (leges  obligandi  a  legibus  obligantibus) ;  as,  for  instance, 
the  law  of  what  men's  vjants  require  from  me,  as  contrasted  with 
that  which  their  rights  demand,  the  latter  of  which  prescribes 


258  METHODOLOGY    OF  fail] 

(310)  essential,  the  former  only  non-essential  duties;  and  thus 
we  teach  how  to  distinguish  different  kinds  of  duties  which  meet 
in  the  same  action.  The  other  point  to  which  attention  must  be 
directed  is  the  question  whether  the  action  was  also  (subjec 
tively)  done  for  the  sake  of  the  moral  law,  so  that  it  not  only  is 
morally  correct  as  a  deed,  but  also,  by  the  maxim  from  which  it 
is  done,  has  moral  worth  as  a  disposition.  Now  there  is  no 
doubt  that  this  practice,  and  the  resulting  culture  of  our  reason 
in  judging  merely  of  the  practical,  must  gradually  produce  a 
certain  interest  even  in  the  law  of  reason,  and  consequently  in 
morally  good  actions.  For  we  ultimately  take  a  liking  for  a 
thing,  the  contemplation  of  which  makes  us  feel  that  the  use  of 
our  cognitive  faculties  is  extended,  and  this  extension  is  espe 
cially  furthered  by  that  in  which  we  find  moral  correctness, 
since  it  is  only  in  such  an  order  of  things  that  reason,  with  its 
faculty  of  determining  a  priori  on  principle  what  ought  to  be 
done,  can  find  satisfaction.  An  observer  of  nature  takes  liking 
at  last  to  objects  that  at  first  offended  his  senses,  when  he 
discovers  in  them  the  great  adaptation  of  their  organization  to 
design,  so  that  his  reason  finds  food  in  its  contemplation.  So 
Leibnitz  spared  an  insect  that  he  had  carefully  examined  with 
the  microscope,  and  replaced  it  on  its  leaf,  because  he  had  found 
himself  instructed  by  the  view  of  it,  and  had  as  it  were  received 
a  benefit  from  it. 

But  this  employment  of  the  faculty  of  judgment,  which 
makes  us  feel  our  own  cognitive  powers,  is  not  yet  the  interest 
in  actions  and  in  their  morality  itself.  It  merely  causes  us  to 
take  pleasure  in  engaging  in  such  criticism,  and  it  gives  to 
virtue  or  the  disposition  that  conforms  to  moral  laws  a  form  of 
beauty,  which  is  admired,  but  not  on  that  account  sought  after 
(laudatur  ct  algd} ;  as  everything  the  contemplation  of  which 
produces  a  consciousness  of  the  harmony  (311)  of  our  powers  of 
conception,  and  in  which  we  feel  the  whole  of  our  faculty  of 
knowledge  (understanding  and  imagination)  strengthened,  pro 
duces  a  satisfaction,  which  may  also  be  communicated  to  others, 
while  nevertheless  the  existence  of  the  object  remains  indifferent 
to  us,  being  only  regarded  as  the  occasion  of  our  becoming  aware 

[312]  PURE   PRACTICAL  REASON.  259 

of  the  capacities  in  us  which  are  elevated  above  mere  animal 
nature.  Now,  however,  the  second  exercise  comes  in,  the  living 
exhibition  of  morality  of  character  by  examples,  in  which 
attention  is  directed  to  purity  of  will,  first  only  as  a  negative 
perfection,  in  so  far  as  in  an  action  done  from  duty  no  motives 
of  inclination  have  any  influence  in  determining  it.  By  this  the 
pupil's  attention  is  fixed  upon  the  consciousness  of  his  freedom, 
and  although  this  renunciation  at  first  excites  a  feeling  of  pain, 
nevertheless,  by  its  withdrawing  the  pupil  from  the  constraint 
of  even  real  wants,  there  is  proclaimed  to  him  at  the  same  time 
a  deliverance  from  the  manifold  dissatisfaction  in  which  all  these 
wants  entangle  him,  and  the  mind  is  made  capable  of  receiving 
the  sensation  of  satisfaction  from  other  sources.  The  heart  is 
freed  and  lightened  of  a  burden  that  always  secretly  presses  on 
it,  when  instances  of  pure  moral  resolutions  reveal  to  the  man 
an  inner  faculty  of  which  otherwise  he  has  no  right  knowledge. 
the  inward  freedom  to  release  himself  from  the  boisterous  impor 
tunity  of  inclinations,  to  such  a  degree  that  none  of  them,  not 
even  the  dearest,  shall  have  any  influence  on  a  resolution,  for 
which  we  are  now  to  employ  our  reason.  Suppose  a  case  where 
/  alone  know  that  the  wrong  is  on  my  side,  and  although  a  free 
confession  of  it  and  the  offer  of  satisfaction  are  so  strongly 
opposed  by  vanity,  selfishness,  and  even  an  otherwise  not  illegi 
timate  antipathy  to  the  man  whose  rights  are  impaired  by  me, 
I  am  nevertheless  able  to  discard  all  these  considerations  (312) ; 
in  this  there  is  implied  a  consciousness  of  independence  on 
inclinations  and  circumstances,  and  of  the  possibility  of  being 
sufficient  for  myself,  which  is  salutary  to  me  in  general  for 
other  purposes  also.  And  now  the  law  of  duty,  in  consequence 
of  the  positive  worth  which  obedience  to  it  makes  us  feel,  finds 
easier  access  through  the  respect  for  ourselves  in  the  consciousness 
of  our  freedom.  When  this  is  well  established,  when  a  man 
dreads  nothing  more  than  to  find  himself,  on  self-examination, 
worthless  and  contemptible  in  his  own  eyes,  then  every  good 
moral  disposition  can  be  grafted  on  it,  because  this  is  the  best, 
nay,  the  only  guard  that  can  keep  off  from  the  mind  the  pressure 
of  ignoble  and  corrupting  motives. 


260  CONCLUSION.  [313] 

I  have  only  intended  to  point  out  the  most  general  maxims 
of  the  methodology  of  moral  cultivation  and  exercise.  As  the 
manifold  variety  of  duties  requires  special  rules  for  each  kind, 
and  this  would  be  a  prolix  affair,  I  shall  be  readily  excused 
if  in  a  work  like  this,  which  is  only  preliminary,  I  content 
myself  with  these  outlines. 


Two  things  fill  the  mind  with  ever  new  and  increasing 
admiration  and  awe,  the  oftener  and  the  more  steadily  we  reflect 
on  them  :  the  starry  heavens  above  and  the  moral  law  within.  I 
have  not  to  search  for  them  and  conjecture  them  as  though 
they  were  veiled  in  darkness  or  were  in  the  transcendent  region 
beyond  my  horizon ;  I  see  them  before  me  and  connect  them 
directly  with  the  consciousness  of  my  existence.  The  former 
begins  from  the  place  I  occupy  in  the  external  world  of  sense, 
and  enlarges  (313)  my  connexion  therein  to  an  unbounded  extent 
with  worlds  upon  worlds  and  systems  of  systems,  and  moreover 
into  limitless  times  of  their  periodic  motion,  its  beginning  and 
continuance.  The  second  begins  from  my  invisible  self,  my 
personality,  and  exhibits  me  in  a  world  which  has  true  infinity, 
but  which  is  traceable  only  by  the  understanding,  and  with 
which  I  discern  that  I  am  not  in  a  merely  contingent  but  in  a 
universal  and  necessary  connexion,  as  I  am  also  thereby  with 
all  those  visible  worlds.  The  former  view  of  a  countless 
multitude  of  worlds  annihilates,  as  it  were,  my  importance  as 
an  animal  creature,  which  after  it  has  been  for  a  short  time 
provided  with  vital  power,  one  knows  not  how,  must  again 
give  back  the  matter  of  which  it  was  formed  to  the  planet  it 
inhabits  (a  mere  speck  in  the  universe).  The  second,  on  the 
contrary,  infinitely  elevates  my  worth  as  an  intelligence  by  my 
personality,  in  which  the  moral  law  reveals  to  me  a  life 
independent  on  animality  and  even  on  the  whole  sensible 
world — at  least  so  far  as  may  be  inferred  from  the  destination 
assigned  to  my  existence  by  this  law,  a  destination  not  restricted 
to  conditions  and  limits  of  this  life,  but  reaching  into  the  infinite. 


But  though  admiration  and  respect  may  excite  to  inquiry, 
they  cannot  supply  the  want  of  it.  What,  then,  is  to  be  done  in 
order  to  enter  on  this  in  a  useful  manner  and  one  adapted  to 
the  loftiness  of  the  subject  ?  Examples  may  serve  in  this  as  a 
warning,  and  also  for  imitation.  The  contemplation  of  the 
world  began  from  the  noblest  spectacle  'that  the  human  senses 
present  to  us,  and  that  our  understanding  can  bear  to  follow  in 
their  vast  reach  ;  and  it  ended — in  astrology.  Morality  began 
with  the  noblest  attribute  of  human  nature,  the  development 
and  cultivation  of  which  give  a  prospect  of  infinite  utility ;  and 
ended — in  fanaticism  or  superstition  (SH).  So  it  is  with  all 
crude  attempts  where  the  principal  part  of  the  business  depends 
on  the  use  of  reason,  a  use  which  does  not  come  of  itself,  like 
the  use  of  the  feet,  by  frequent  exercise,  especially  when  attri 
butes  are  in  question  which  cannot  be  directly  exhibited  in 
Common  experience.  But  after  the  maxim  had  come  into  vogue, 
though  late,  to  examine  carefully  beforehand  all  the  steps  that 
reason  purposes  to  take,  and  not  to  let  it  proceed  otherwise  than 
in  the  track  of  a  previously  well-considered  method,  then  the 
study  of  the  structure  of  the  universe  took  quite  a  different 
direction,  and  thereby  attained  an  incomparably  happier  result. 
The  fall  of  a  stone,  the  motion  of  a  sling,  resolved  into  their 
elements  and  the  forces  that  are  manifested  in  them,  and  treated 
mathematically,  produced  at  last  that  clear  and  henceforward 
unchangeable  insight  into  the  system  of  the  world,  which  as 
observation  is  continued  may  hope  always  to  extend  itself,  but 
need  never  fear  to  be  compelled  to  retreat. 

This  example  may  suggest  to  us  to  enter  on  the  same  path 
in  treating  of  the  moral  capacities  of  our  nature,  and  may  give 
us  hope  of  a  like  good  result.  We  have  at  hand  the  instances 
of  the  moral  judgment  of  reason.  By  analysing  these  into 
their  elementary  conceptions,  and  in  default  of  mathematics 
adopting  a  process  similar  to  that  of  chemistry,  the  separation  of 
the  empirical  from  the  rational  elements  that  may  be  found  in 
them,  by  repeated  experiments  on  common  sense,  we  may  exhibit 
both  pure,  and  learn  with  certainty  what  each  part  can  accom 
plish  of  itself,  so  as  to  prevent  on  the  one  hand  the  errors  of  a 

262  CONCLUSION.  [31o] 

still  crude  untrained  judgment,  and  on  the  other  hand  (what  is 
far  more  necessary)  the  extravagances  of  genius,  by  which,  as  by 
the  adepts  of  the  philosopher's  stone,  without  any  methodical 
study  or  knowledge  of  nature,  visionary  treasures  are  pro 
mised  (315)  and  the  true  are  thrown  away.  In  one  word,  science 
(critically  undertaken  and  methodically  directed)  is  the  narrow 
gate  that  leads  to  the  true  doctrine  of  practical  wisdom,1  if  we 
understand  by  this  not  merely  what  one  ought  to  do,  but  what 
ought  to  serve  teachers  as  a  guide  to  construct  well  and  clearly 
the  road  to  wisdom  which  everyone  should  travel,  and  to  secure 
others  from  going  astray.  Philosophy  must  always  continue  to 
be  the  guardian  of  this  science ;  and  although  the  public  does 
not  take  any  interest  in  its  subtle  investigations,  it  must  take  an 
interest  in  the  resulting  doctrines,  which  such  an  examination 
first  puts  in  a  clear  light. 

\_Weisheitslehre,  vernacular  German  for  Philosophy.     See  p.  203.] 










rPHE  appetitive  faculty  is  the  faculty  of  being  by  means  of 
one's  ideas  the  cause  of  the  objects  of  these  ideas.1  The 
faculty  which  a  being  has  of  acting  according  to  its  ideas  is 
Life.  Firstly  —  Desire  or  aversion  has  always  connected  with 
it  pleasure  or  displeasure,  the  susceptibility  to  which  is  called 

1  ["To  this  definition  it  has  been  objected,  that  '  it  comes  to  nothing 
as  soon  as  we  abstract  from  external  conditions  of  the  result  of  the  desire. 
Yet  even  to  the  Idealist  the  appetitive  faculty  is  something,  although  to 
him  the  external  world  is  nothing.'  Answer  :  Is  there  not  such  a  thing 
as  an  earnest  longing  which  yet  we  are  conscious  is  in  vain  (ex.  gr.  Would 
to  God  that  man  were  still  living  !),  and  which,  though  it  leads  to  no  deed, 
is  yet  not  without  results,  and  has  a  powerful  effect  not  indeed  on  outward 
things,  but  within  the  subject  himself  (making  him  ill)?  A  desire  being 
an  effort  (nisus)  to  be,  by  means  of  one's  ideas,  a  cause,  still,  even  though 
the  subject  perceives  the  inadequacy  of  these  to  produce  the  desired  effect, 
is  always  a  causality  at  least  within  the  subject.  What  causes  the  mistake 
here  is  this  :  that  since  the  consciousness  of  our  power  generally  (in  the 
given  case)  is  at  the  same  time  a  consciousness  of  our  poiverlessness  in 
respect  to  the  outer  world,  the  definition  is  not  applicable  to  the  Idealist, 
although  as  here  we  are  speaking  only  of  the  relation  of  a  cause  (the  idea) 
to  the  effect  (feeling),  the  causality  of  the  idea  in  respect  of  its  object 
(whether  that  causality  be  internal  or  external)  must  inevitably  be 
included  in  the  conception  of  the  appetitive  faculty."  —  Eechtslehre, 
Anhang  (to  second  edition),  p.  130.] 

266  INTRODUCTION   TO   THE  [10] 

feeling.  But  the  converse  does  not  always  hold  ;  for  a  pleasure 
may  exist  which  is  not  connected  with  any  desire  of  the  object, 
but  with  the  mere  idea  which  one  frames  to  one's  self  of  an 
object,  no  matter  whether  its  object  exists  or  not.  Secondly — 
The  pleasure  or  displeasure  in  the  object  of  the  desire  does  not 
always  precede  the  desire,  and  cannot  always  be  regarded  as  its 
cause,  but  must  sometimes  be  looked  on  as  the  effect  thereof. 

Now,  the  capability  of  having  pleasure  or  displeasure  in  an 
idea  is  called  feeling,  because  both  contain  what  is  merely  sub 
jective  in  relation  to  our  idea  (10),  and  have  no  relation  to  an 
object  so  as  to  contribute  to  the  possible  cognition  of  it1  (not 
even  the  cognition  of  our  own  state) ;  whereas  in  other  cases 
sensations,  apart  from  the  quality  which  belongs  to  them  in 
consequence  of  the  nature  of  the  subject  (ex.  gr.  red,  sweet,  etc.), 
may  yet  have  relation  to  an  object,  and  constitute  part  of  our 
knowledge;  but  pleasure  or  displeasure  (in  the  red  or  sweet) 
expresses  absolutely  nothing  in  the  object,  but  simply  a  relation 
to  the  subject.  Pleasure  and  displeasure  cannot  be  more  closely 
defined,  for  the  reason  just  given.  We  can  only  specify  what 
consequences  they  have  in  certain  circumstances  so  as  to  make 
them  cognizable  in  practice.  The  pleasure  which  is  necessarily 
connected  with  the  desire  of  the  object  whose  idea  affects  feeling 
may  be  called  practical  pleasure,  whether  it  is  cause  or  effect  of 
the  desire.  On  the  contrary,  the  pleasure  which  is  not  neces- 

1  We  might  define  sensibility  as  the  subjective  element  in  our  ideas  ; 
for  it  is  the  understanding  that  first  refers  the  ideas  to  an  object  ;  i.e.  it 
alone  thinks  somewhat  by  means  thereof.  Now  the  subjective  element  of 
our  idea  may  be  of  such  a  kind  that  it  can  also  be  referred  to  an  object 
as  contributory  to  the  knowledge  of  it  (either  as  to  the  form  or  the  matter, 
being  called  in  the  former  case  intuition,  in  the  latter  sensation).  In  this 
case  sensibility,  which  is  the  susceptibility  to  the  idea  in  question,  is 
Sense.  Or  again,  the  subjective  element  of  the  idea  may  be  such  that  it 
cannot  become  a  piece  of  knowledge,  inasmuch  aa  it  contains  merely  the 
relation  of  this  idea  to  the  subject,  and  nothing  that  is  useful  for  the 
knowledge  of  the  object  ;  and  in  this  case  this  susceptibility  to  the  idea  is 
called  Feeling,  which  contains  the  effect  of  the  idea  (whether  sensible  or 
intellectual)  on  the  subject,  and  this  belongs  to  the  sensibility,  even 
though  the  idea  itself  may  belong  to  the  understanding  or  the  reason. 

[12]  METAPHYSIC   OF  MORALS.  267 

sarily  connected  with  the  desire  of  the  object,  and  which,  there 
fore,  is  at  bottom  not  a  pleasure  in  the  existence  of  the  object 
of  the  idea,  but  clings  to  the  idea  only,  may  be  called  mere 
contemplative  pleasure  or  passive  satisfaction  (n).  The  feeling 
of  the  latter  kind  of  pleasure  we  call  taste.  Accordingly,  in  a 
practical  philosophy  we  can  treat  this  only  episodically,  not  as  a 
notion  properly  belonging  to  that  philosophy.  But  as  regards 
the  practical  pleasure,  the  determination  of  the  appetitive 
faculty  which  is  caused,  and  therefore  necessarily  preceded  by 
this  pleasure,  is  called  appetite  in  the  strict  sense,  and  habitual, 
appetite  is  called  inclination.  The  connexion  of  pleasure  with 
the  appetitive  faculty,  in  so  far  as  this  connexion  is  judged  by 
the  understanding  to  hold  good  by  a  general  rule  (though  only 
for  the  subject,  is  called  interest,  and  hence  in  this  case  the 
practical  pleasure  is  an  interest  of  inclination.  On  the  other 
hand,  if  the  pleasure  can  only  follow  an  antecedent  determina 
tion  of  the  appetitive  faculty,  it  is  an  intellectual  pleasure,  and 
the  interest  in  the  object  must  be  called  an  interest  of  reason. 
For  if  the  interest  were  one  of  sense,  and  not  merely  founded 
on  pure  principles  of  reason,  sensation  must  be  joined  with 
pleasure,  and  thus  be  able  to  determine  the  appetitive  faculty. 
Although  where  a  merely  pure  interest  of  reason  must  be  as 
sumed,  no  interest  of  inclination  can  be  substituted  for  it,  yet 
in  order  to  accommodate  ourselves  to  common  speech,  we  may 
admit  an  inclination  e.ven  to  that  which  can  only  be  the  object 
of  an  intellectual  pleasure — that  is  to  say,  a  habitual  desire 
from  a  pure  interest  of  reason.  This,  however,  would  not  be 
the  cause  but  the  effect  of  the  latter  interest,  and  we  might 
call  it  the  sense-free  inclination  (propensio  intellectualis).  Fur 
ther,  concupiscence  is  to  be  distinguished  from  the  desire  itself 
as  being  the  stimulus  to  its  determination.  It  is  always  a 
sensible  state  of  mind,  but  one  which  has  not  yet  arrived  at  an 
act  of  the  appetitive  faculty. 

The  appetitive  faculty  which  depends  on  concepts,  in  so  far 
as  the  ground  of  its  determination  to  action  is  found  in  itself  (12), 
not  in  the  object,  is  called  a  faculty  of  doing  or  forbearing  as  ice 
please.  In  so  far  as  it  is  combined  with  the  consciousness  of 

268  INTRODUCTION   TO   THE  [12] 

the  power  of  its  action  to  produce  its  object,  it  is  called 
"  elective  will"  \Willkiihr  =  arbitrium\\  if  not  so  combined,  its 
act  is  called  a  wish,1  The  appetitive  faculty,  whose  inner 
determining  principle,  and,  consequently,  even  its  "  good  plea 
sure  "  (Bdieberi),  is  found  in  the  reason  of  the  subject,  is  called 
the  Rational  Will  [Wille].  Accordingly  the  Rational  Will  is 
the  appetitive  faculty,  not  (like  the  elective  will)  in  relation  to 
the  action,  but  rather  in  relation  to  what  determines  the  elective 
will  [Willkiihr]  to  the  action ;  and  it  has  properly  itself  no 
determining  ground  ;  but  in  so  far  as  it  can  determine  the 
elective  will,  it  is  practical  reason  itself.  \/ 

Under  the  will  may  be  included  the  elective  will  [Willkiihr], 
and  even  mere  wish,  inasmuch  as  reason  can  determine  the 
appetitive  faculty ;  and  the  elective  will,  which  can  be  deter 
mined  by  pure  reason,  is  called  free  elective  will.  That  which 
is  determinable  only  by  inclination  would  be  animal  elective 
will  (arbitrium  brutum).  Human  elective  will,  on  the  contrary, 
is  one  which  is  affected  but  not  determined  by  impulses.  It  is 
accordingly  in  itself  (apart  from  acquired  practice  of  reason) 
not  pure ;  but  it  can  be  determined  to  actions  by  the  pure  will. 
Freedom  of  the  elective  will  is  just  that  independence  of  its 
determination  on  sensible  impulses :  this  is  the  negative  con 
cept  of  it.  The  positive  is :  the  power  of  pure  reason  to  be 

1  [This  important  distinction  is  here  explicitly  made  for  the  first  time. 
In  the  earlier  treatises,  the  word  "  Wille  "  covers  both  significations.  In 
writing  the  "Kritik,"  Kant  saw  that  much  confusion  of  thought  was 
traceable  to  the  use  of  the  same  word  for  two  very  different  things,  and 
in  that  treatise  he  sometimes  uses  "  Willkiihr."  His  use  of  the  term  is, 
of  course,  his  own.  In  the  last  treatise  in  the  present  volume  the  word 
"  Wille  "  occurs  only  once  or  twice.  In  default  of  an  English  word  suit 
able  to  be  appropriated  to  the  signification  of  Kant's  "  Willkiihr,"  I  have 
adopted  the  compound  term  "elective  will,"  reserving  "rational  will" 
for  "  Wille."  Although  the  distinction  has  not  been  fixed  in  appropriate 
terms,  it  has  been  felt  and  more  or  less  obscurely  indicated  by  many 
moralists.  Indeed,  it  is  implied  in  St.  Paul's  Epistle  to  the  Romans, 
ch.  vii.,  where,  for  instance,  in  ver.  15,  the  subject  of  8(\<a  is  I  as  "Wille," 
while  that  of  iroicD  is  I  as  "  Willkiihr."  Compare  the  words  of  Kant  on  the 
corrupt  heart  coexisting  with  the  good  "  Wille,"  p.  352.] 

[13]  METAPHYSIC    OF   MOKALS.  269 

of  itself  practical.  Now  this  is  possible  only  by  the  subordi 
nation  of  the  maxim  of  every  action  to  the  condition  of  fitness 
for  universal  law.  For  being  pure  reason  it  is  directed  to 
the  elective  will,  irrespective  of  the  object  of  this  will.  Now 
it  is  the  faculty  of  principles  (in  this  case  practical  principles, 
so  that  it  is  a  legislative  faculty)  (13) ;  and  since  it  is  not  pro 
vided  with  the  matter  of  the  law,  there  is  nothing  which  it  can 
make  the  supreme  law  and  determining  ground  of  the  elective 
will  except  the  form,  consisting  in  the  fitness  of  the  maxim 
of  the  elective  will  to  be  a  universal  law.  And  since  from 
subjective  causes  the  maxims  of  men  do  not  of  themselves 
coincide  with  those  objective  maxims,  it  can  only  prescribe 
this  law  as  an  imperative  of  command  or  prohibition. 

These  laws  of  freedom  are  called,  in  contradistinction  to 
physical  laws,  moral  laivs.  In  so  far  as  they  are  directed  to 
mere  external  actions  and  their  lawfulness,  they  are  called 
judicial ;  but  when  they  demand  that  these  laws  themselves 
shall  be  the  determining  ground  of  the  actions,  they  are  ethical, 
and  in  this  case  we  say — the  agreement  with  the  former  consti 
tutes  the  legality,  agreement  with  the  latter  the  morality  of  the 
action.  The  freedom  to  which  the  former  laws  relate  can  only 
be  freedom  in  its  external  exercise ;  but  the  freedom  to  which 
the  latter  refer  is  freedom  both  in  the  internal  and  external 
exercise  of  the  elective  will  in  as  far,  namely,  as  this  elective 
will  is  determined  by  laws  of  reason.  Similarly,  in  theoretic 
philosophy  we  say,  that  only  the  abjects  of  the  outer  senses  are 
in  space,  while  the  objects  both  of  the  external  and  of  the 
interrfal  sense  are  in  time ;  because  the  ideas  of  both  are  still 
ideas,  and  for  this  reason  all  belong  to  the  inner  sense.  Just 
so,  whether  we  regard  freedom  in  the  external  or  the  internal 
exercise  of  the  elective  will,  in  either  case  its  laws,  being  pure 
practical  laws  of  reason  governing  free  elective  will  generally, 
must  be  also  its  internal  grounds  of  determination ;  although 
they  need  not  always  be  considered  in  this  point  of  view. 

270  INTRODUCTION   TO   THE  [u] 



(14)  It  has  been  shown  elsewhere  that  for  physical  science, 
which  has  to  do  with  the  objects  of  the  external  senses,  we 
must  have  d  priori  principles  ;  and  that  it  is  possible — nay, 
even  necessary — to  prefix  a  system  of  these  principles  under 
the  name  of  metaphysical  principles  of  natural  philosophy  to 
physics,  which  is  natural  philosophy  applied  to  special  pheno 
mena  of  experience.  The  latter,  however  (at  least  when  the 
question  is  to  guard  its  propositions  from  error),  may  assume 
many  principles  as  universal  on  the  testimony  of  experience, 
although  the  former,  if  it  is  to  be  in  the  strict  sense  universal, 
must  be  deduced  from  a  priori  grounds ;  just  as  Kewton 
adopted  the  principle  of  the  equality  of  action  and  reaction  as 
based  on  experience,  and  yet  extended  it  to  all  material  nature. 
The  chemists  go  still  further,  and  base  their  most  universal 
laws  of  combination  and  dissociation  of  substances  by  their 
own  forces  entirely  on  experience,  and  yet  they  have  such 
confidence  in  their  universality  and  necessity  that,  in  the 
experiments  they  make  with  them,  they  have  no  apprehension 
of  error. 

It  is  otherwise  with  the  moral  laws.  These  are  valid  as 
laws  only  so  far  as  they  have  an  a  priori  basis  and  can  be  seen 
to  be  necessary ;  nay,  the  concepts  and  judgments  about  our 
selves  and  our  actions  and  omissions  have  no  moral  significance 
at  all,  if  they  contain  only  what  can  be  learned  from  ex 
perience  ;  and  should  one  be  so  misled  as  to  make  into  a 
moral  principle  anything  derived  from  this  source,  he  would 
be  in  danger  of  the  grossest  and  most  pernicious  errors. 

If  the  science  of  morals  were  nothing  but  the  science  of 
happiness,  it  would  be  unsuitable  to  look  out  for  a  priori  prin 
ciples  on  which  to  rest  it.  For  however  plausible  it  may  sound 
to  say  that  reason  could  discern,  even  before  experience,  by 
what  means  one  might  attain  a  lasting  enjoyment  of  the  true 
pleasures  of  life,  yet  everything  which  is  taught  on  this  subject 

[16]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MOHALS.  271 

d  priori  is  either  tautological  or  assumed  without  any  founda 
tion.     It  is  experience  alone  that  can  teach  us  what  gives  us 
pleasure  (15).     The  natural  impulses  to  nutrition,  to  the  propa 
gation  of  the  species,  the  desire  of  rest,  of  motion,  and  (in  the 
development  of  our  natural  capacities)  the  desire  of  honour,  of 
knowledge,   &c.,   can   alone   teach,   and   moreover  teach  each 
individual  in  his  own  special  way,  in  what  to  place  those  plea 
sures;  and  it  is  these  also  that  can  teach  him  the  means  by 
which  he  must  seek  them.     All  plausible  d  priori  reasoning  is 
here  at  bottom  nothing  but  experience  raised  to  generality  by 
induction :  a  generality,  too,  so  meagre  that  everyone  must  be 
allowed  many  exceptions,  in  order  to  make  the  choice  of  his 
mode  of  life  suitable  to  his  special  inclination  and  his  suscepti 
bility  for  pleasure ;  so  that  after  all  he  must  become  wise  only 
by  his  own  or  others'  loss.     It  is  not  so  with  the  doctrines  of 
morality.     They  are  imperative  for  everyone  without  regard  to 
his  inclinations,  solely  because  and  so  far  as  he  is  free,  and  has 
practical  reason.     Instruction  in  its  laws  is  not  drawn  from 
observation  of  himself  and  his  animal  part ;  not  from  percep 
tion  of  the  course  of  the  world,  from  that  which  happens  and 
from  the  way  in  which  men  act  (although  the  German  word 
"  sitten,"   like    the   Latin   mores,  signifies    only  manners    and 
mode  of  life) ;  but  reason  commands  how  men  should  act,  even 
although  no  instance  of  such  action  could  be  found ;  moreover, 
it  pays  no  regard  to  the   advantage  which  we   may  hereby 
attain,  which  certainly  can  only  be  learned  by  experience.     For 
although  it  allows  us  to  seek  our  advantage  in  every  way  that 
we  can ;    and  in  addition,  pointing  to  the  testimony  of  expe 
rience,  can  promise  us,  probably  and  on  the  whole,  greater 
advantages  from  following  its  commands  than  from  transgres 
sion  of  them,  especially  if  obedience  is  accompanied  by  pru 
dence,  yet  the  authority  of  its  precepts  as  commands  does  not 
rest  on  this  (ie).      Eeason  uses   such  facts   only  (by  way  of 
counsel)  as  a  counterpoise  to  the  temptations  to  the  opposite, 
in  order,  first  of   all,  to  compensate  the  error  of  an  unfair 
balance,  so  that  it  may  then  assure  a  due  preponderance  to  the 
d  priori  grounds  of  a  pure  practical  reason. 

272  INTRODUCTION   TO   THE  [17] 

If,  therefore,  we  give  the  name  Metapliysic  to  a  system  of 
d  priori  knowledge  derived  from  mere  concepts,  then  a  practical 
philosophy,  which  has  for  its  object  not  nature  but  freedom  of 
choice,  will  presuppose  and  require  a  metaphysic  of  morals: 
that  is,  to  have  it  is  itself  a  duty,  and,  moreover,  every  man  has 
it  in  himself,  though  commonly  only  in  an  obscure  way ;  for 
without  -a  priori  principles  how  could  he  believe  that  he  has  in 
him  a  universal  law-giving  ?  Moreover,  just  as  in  the  meta 
physic  of  natural  philosophy  there  must  be  principles  touching 
the  application  to  objects  of  experience  of  those  supreme  uni 
versal  laws  of  a  physical  system  generally,  so  also  a  metaphysic 
of  morals  cannot  dispense  with  similar  principles ;  and  we  shall 
often  have  to  take  the  special  nature  of  man,  which  can  only  be 
known  by  experience,  as  our  object,  in  order  to  exhibit  in  it  the 
consequences  of  the  universal  moral  principles;  but  this  will 
not  detract  from  the  purity  of  the  latter  nor  cast  any  doubt 
on  their  d  priori  origin — that  is  to  say,  a  Metaphysic  of 
Morals  cannot  be  founded  on  anthropology,  but  may  be  applied 
to  it. 

The  counterpart  of  a  metaphysic  of  morals,  namely,  the 
second  subdivision  of  practical  philosophy  generally,  would  be 
moral  anthropology,  which  would  contain  the  subjective  con 
ditions  favourable  and  unfavourable  to  carrying  out  the  laws  of 
the  power  in  human  nature.  It  would  treat  of  the  production, 
the  propagation,  and  strengthening  of  moral  principles  (in  edu 
cation,  school  and  popular  instruction)  (17),  and  other  like 
doctrines  and  precepts  based  on  experience,  which  cannot  be 
dispensed  with,  but  which  must  not  come  before  the  metaphysic, 
nor  be  mixed  with  it.  For  to  do  so  would  be  to  run  the  risk  of 
eliciting  false  or  at  least  indulgent  moral  laws,  which  would 
represent  that  as  unattainable  which  has  only  not  been 
attained  because  the  law  has  not  been  discerned  and  proclaimed 
in  its  purity  (the  very  thing  in  which  its  strength  consists) ; 
or  else  because  men  make  use  of  spurious  or  mixed  motives  to 
what  is  itself  good  and  dutiful,  and  these  allow  no  certain  moral 
principles  to  remain ;  but  this  anthropology  is  not  to  be  used  as 
a  standard  of  judgment,  nor  as  a  discipline  of  the  mind  in  its 

[l?]  METAPHYSIC    OF   MORALS.  273 

obedience  to  duty ;  for  the  precept  of  duty  must  be  given  solely 
by  pure  reason  a  priori. 

Now  with  respect  to  the  division  to  which  that  just  men 
tioned  is  subordinate,  namely,  the  division  of  philosophy  into 
theoretical  and  practical,  I  have  explained  myself  sufficiently 
elsewhere  (in  the  Critical  Examination  of  the  Faculty  of  Judg 
ment),1  and  have  shown  that  the  latter  branch  can  be  nothing 
else  than  moral  philosophy.  Everything  practical  which  con 
cerns  what  is  possible  according  to  physical  laws  (the  proper 
business  of  Art)  depends  for  its  precept  on  the  theory  of  phy 
sical  nature ;  that  only  which  is  practical  in  accordance  with 
laws  of  freedom  can  have  principles  that  do  not  depend  on  any 
theory ;  for  there  can  be  no  theory  of  that  which  transcends  the 
properties  of  physical  nature.  Hence  by  the  practical  part  of 

1  ["  When  Philosophy,  as  containing  principles  of  the  rational  know 
ledge  of  things  through  concepts  (not  merely,  as  Logic  does,  principles  of 
the  form  of  thought  in  general  without  distinction  of  its  objects),  is 
divided  into  theoretical  and  practical,  this  is  quite  right ;  but,  then,  the 
concepts  which  assign  to  the  principles  of  this  rational  knowledge  their 
object  must  be  specifically  distinct,  otherwise  they  would  not  justify  a 
division  which  always  presupposes  a  contrast  of  the  principles  of  the 
rational  knowledge  belonging  to  the  different  parts  of  a  science. 

Now  there  are  only  two  kinds  of  concepts,  and  these  admit  as  many 
distinct  principles  of  possibility  of  their  object,  namely,  physical  concepts 
and  the  concept  of  freedom.  Now  as  the  former  make  possible  a  theoreti 
cal  knowledge  on  a  priori  principles,  whereas  in  respect  of  these  the  latter 
only  conveys  in  its  concept  a  negative  principle  (that  of  mere  contrast)  ; 
while,  on  the  other  hand,  it  establishes  principles  for  the  determination  of 
the  will,  which,  therefore,  are  called  practical  ;  hence  philosophy  is  rightly 
divided  into  two  parts  with  quite  distinct  principles — the  theoretical, 
which  is  natural  philosophy,  and  the  practical,  which  is  moral  philosophy 
(for  so  we  name  the  practical  legislation  of  reason  according  to  the  concept 
of  freedom).  Hitherto,  however,  there  has  .prevailed  a  gross  misuse  of 
these  expressions  in  the  division  of  the  different  principles,  and  conse 
quently  also  of  philosophy  ;  inasmuch  as  what  is  practical  according  to 
physical  concepts  has  been  assumed  to  be  of  the  same  kind  as  what  is 
practical  according  to  the  concept  of  freedom  ;  and  thus,  with  the  same 
denominations  of  '  theoretical '  and  '  practical '  philosophy,  a  division  is 
made  by  which  nothing  is  really  divided  (since  both  parts  might  have 
principles  of  the  same  kind)." — Kritik  der  Urthetiskraft,  Einl.  p.  8.] 


274  INTRODUCTION    TO    THE  [is] 

philosophy  (co-ordinate  with  its  theoretical  part)  we  are  to 
understand  not  any  technical  doctrine,  but  a  morally  practical' 
doctrine ;  and  if  the  habit  of  choice,  according  to  laws  of  free 
dom,  in  contrast  to  physical  laws,  is  here  also  to  be  called  art, 
we  must  understand  thereby  such  an  art  as  would  make  a  system 
of  freedom  like  a  system  of  nature  possible  ;  truly  a  divine  art, 
were  we  in  a  condition  to  fulfil  by  means  of  reason  the  precepts 
of  reason,  and  to  carry  its  Ideal  into  actuality. 



All  legislation  (whether  it  prescribes  internal  or  external 
actions,  and  these  either  d  priori  by  pure  reason  or  by  the  will 
of  another)  involves  two  things:  first,  a  law,  which  objectively 
presents  the  action  that  is  to  be  done  as  necessary,  i.e.  makes 
it  a  duty ;  secondly,  a  spring,  which  subjectively  connects  with 
the  idea  of  the  law  the  motive  determining  the  elective  will 
to  this  action ;  hence,  the  second  element  is  this,  that  the  law 
makes  duty  the  spring.  By  the  former  the  action  is  presented 
as  duty,  and  this  is  a  mere  theoretical  knowledge  of  the  possible 
determination  of  the  elective  will,  i.e.  of  practical  rules ;  by  the 
latter,  the  obligation  so  to  act  is  connected  with  a  motive  which 
determines  the  elective  will  generally  in  the  agent. 

Accordingly,  all  legislation  may  be  divided  into  two  classes 
in  respect  of  the  springs  employed  (and  this  whether  the 

1  The  deduction  of  the  division  of  a  system  :  that  is,  the  proof  of  its 
completeness  as  well  as  of  its  continuity,  namely,  that  the  transition  from 
the  notion  divided  to  each  member  of  the  division  in  the  whole  series  of 
subdivisions  does  not  take  place  per  saltum,  is  one  of  the  most  difficult 
tasks  of  the  constructor  of  a  system.  It  is  even  difficult  to  say  what  is  the 
ultimate  notion  of  which  right  and  wrmig  (fas  ant  nefas}  are  divisions.  It 
is  the  act  of  free  choice  in  general.  So  teachers  of  ontology  begin  with  the 
notions  of  something  and  nothing,  without  being  aware  that  these  are 
already  members  of  a  division  of  a  higher  notion  which  is  not  given,  but 
which,  in  fact,  can  only  be  the  notion  of  an  object  in  general. 

[20j  METAPHYSIC   OF  MORALS.  275 

actions  prescribed  are  the  same  or  not :  as,  for  instance,  the 
actions  might  be  in  all  cases  external)  (19).  That  legislation 
which  at  once  makes  an  action  a  duty,  and  makes  this  duty 
the  spring,  is  ethical.  That  which  does  not  include  the  latter 
in  the  law,  and  therefore  admits  a  spring  different  from  the 
idea  of  duty  itself,  is  juridical.  As  regards  the  latter,  it  is 
easily  seen  that  this  spring,  which  is  distinct  from  the  idea  of 
duty,  must  be  derived  from  the  pathological  motives  of  choice, 
namely,  the  inclinations  and  aversions,  and  amongst  these 
from  the  latter,  since  it  is  a  legislation,  which  must  be  con 
straining,  not  an  invitation,  which  is  persuasive. 

The  mere  agreement  or  disagreement  of  an  action  with  the 
law,  without  regard  to  the  motive  from  which  the  action  springs, 
is  called  legality ;  but  when  the  idea  of  duty  arising  from  the 
law  is  also  the  motive  of  the  action,  the  agreement  is  called 
the  morality  of  the  action. 

Duties  arising  from  forensic  legislation  can  only  be  external 
duties,  because  this  legislation  does  not  require  that  the  idea 
of  this  duty,  which  is  internal,  shall  be  of  itself  the  motive  of 
the  elective  will  of  the  agent ;  and  as  it  nevertheless  requires 
a  suitable  spring,  it  can  only  connect  external  springs  with  the 
law.  On  the  other  hand,  ethical  legislation,  while  it  makes 
internal  actions  duties,  does  not  exclude  external  actions,  but 
applies  generally  to  everything  that  is  duty.  But  just  because 
ethical  legislation  includes  in  its  law  the  inner  spring  of  the 
action  (the  idea  of  duty),  a  property  which  cannot  belong  to 
the  external  legislation;  hence  ethical  legislation  cannot  be 
external  (not  even  that  of  a  divine  will),  although  it  may  adopt 
duties  which  rest  on  external  legislation,  and  take  them 
regarded  as  duties  into  its  own  legislation  as  springs  of  action. 

(20)  From  hence  we  may  see  that  all  duties  belong  to 
Ethics,  simply  because  they  are  duties ;  but  it  does  not  follow 
that  their  legislation  is  always  included  in  Ethics  :  in  the  case  of 
many  duties  it  is  quite  outside  Ethics.  Thus  Ethics  requires 
that  I  should  fulfil  my  pledged  word,  even  though  the  other 
party  could  not  compel  me  to  do  so;  but  the  law  (pacta  sunt 
servanda)  and  the  corresponding  duty  are  taken  by  Ethics  from 


276  INTRODUCTION   TO    THE  [21] 

jurisprudence.  Accordingly,  it  is  not  in  Ethics  but  in  Jus  that 
the  legislation  is  contained  which  enjoins  that  promises  be  kept. 
Ethics  teaches  only  that  even  if  the  spring  were  absent  which 
is  connected  by  forensic  legislation  with  that  duty,  namely,  ex 
ternal  compulsion,  yet  the  idea  of  duty  would  alone  be  sufficient 
as  a  spring.  For  if  this  were  not  so,  and  if  the  legislation 
itself  were  not  forensic,  and  the  duty  arising  from  it  not  pro 
perly  a  legal  duty  (in  contrast  to  a  moral  duty),  then  faithful 
ness  to  one's  engagements  would  be  put  in  the  same  class  as 
actions  of  benevolence  and  the  obligation  to  them,  which  cannot 
be  admitted.  It  is  not  an  ethical  duty  to  keep  one's  promise, 
but  a  legal  duty,  one  that  we  can  be  compelled  to  perform. 
Nevertheless,  it  is  a  virtuous  action  (a  proof  of  virtue)  to  do 
so,  even  where  no  compulsion  is  to  be  apprehended.  Law  and 
morals,  therefore,  are  distinguished  not  so  much  by  the  diversity 
of  their  duties,  but  rather  by  the  diversity  of  the  legislation 
which  connects  this  or  that  motive  with  the  law. 

Ethical  legislation  is  that  which  cannot  be.external  (although 
the  duties  may  be  external) ;  forensic  legislation  is  that  which 
can  be  external.  Thus  to  keep  one's  contract  is  an  external 
duty;  but  the  command  (21)  to  do  this  merely  because  it  is 
a  duty,  without  regard  to  any  other  motive,  belongs  only  to  the 
internal  legislation.  Accordingly,  the  obligation  is  reckoned  as 
belonging  to  Ethics,  not  as  being  a  special  kind  of  duty  (a 
special  kind  of  actions  to  which  one  is  bound) — for  in  Ethics  as 
well  as  in  law  we  have  external  duties — but  because  in  the 
supposed  case  the  legislation  is  an  internal  one,  and  can  have 
no  external  lawgiver.  For  the  same  reason  duties  of  benevo 
lence,  although  they  are  external  duties  (obligations  to  external 
actions),  are  yet  reckoned  as  belonging  to  Ethics  because  the 
legislation  imposing  them  can  only  be  internal.  No  doubt 
Ethics  has  also  duties  peculiar  to  itself  (ex.  or.  duties  to  our 
selves),  but  it  also  has  duties  in  common  with  law,  only  the 
kind  of  obligation  is  different.  For  it  is  the  peculiarity  of 
ethical  legislation  to  perform  actions  solely  because  they  are 
duties,  and  to  make  the  principle  of  duty  itself  the  adequate 
spring  of  the  will,  no  matter  whence  the  duty  may  be  derived. 


Hence,  while  there  are  many  directly  ethical  duties,  the  internal 
legislation  makes  all  others  indirectly  ethical. 



(Philosophies  practice/,  universalis.) 

The  concept  of  Freedom  is  a  pure  concept  of  the  reason,  and 
on  this  account  it  is  as  regards  theoretical  philosophy  trans 
cendent,  that  is,  a  concept  for  which  there  is  no  corresponding 
example  in  any  possible  experience,  which  therefore  forms  no 
object  of  any  theoretic  knowledge  possible  to  us,  and  is  valid 
not  as  a  constitutive,  but  simply  as  a  regulative  principle  of 
pure  speculative  reason,  and  that  a  negative  one ;  but  in  the 
practical  exercise  of  reason  it  proves  its  reality  by  practical 
principles  (22),  which  being  laws  of  causality  of  pure  reason, 
determine  the  elective  will  independently  on  all  empirical  con 
ditions  (sensible  conditions  generally),  and  prove  the  existence 
of  a  pure  will  in  us  in  which  the  moral  concepts  and  laws  have 
their  origin. 

On  this  concept  of  freedom,  which  (in  a  practical  aspect) 
is  positive,  are  founded  unconditional  practical  laws  which  are 
called  moral,  and  these,  in  respect  of  us,  whose  elective  will  is 
sensibly  affected,  and  therefore  does  not  of  itself  correspond 
with  the  pure  will,  but  often  opposes  it,  are  imperatives  (com 
mands  or  prohibitions),  and,  moreover,  are  categorical  (uncon 
ditional)  imperatives,  by  which  they  are  distinguished  from 
technical  imperatives  (precepts  of  art),  which  always  give  only 
conditional  commands.  By  these  imperatives  certain  actions 
are  permitted  or  not  permitted,  that  is,  are  morally  possible 
or  impossible ;  some,  however,  or  their  opposites,  are  morally 
necessary,  that  is,  obligatory.  Hence  arises  the  notion  of  a 
duty,  the  obeying  or  transgressing  of  which  is,  indeed,  con 
nected  with  a  pleasure  or  displeasure  of  a  peculiar  kind  (that 


of  a  moral  feeling},  of  which,  however,  we  can  take  no  account 
in  the  practical  laws  of  reason,  since  they  do  not  concern  the 
foundation  of  the  practical  laws,  but  only  the  subjective  effect  in 
the  mind  when  our  elective  will  is  determined  by  these  ;  and 
they  may  be  very  different  in  different  persons  without  adding 
to  or  taking  from  the  validity  or  influence  of  these  laws 
objectively,  that  is,  in  the  judgment  of  the  reason. 

The  following  notions  are  common  to  both  parts  of  the 
Metaphysic  of  Morals  :— 

Obligation  is  the  necessity  of  a  free  action  under  a  cate 
gorical  imperative  of  reason.  The  Imperative  is  a  practical 
rule  by  which  an  action  in  itself  contingent  is  made  necessary  ; 
it  is  distinguished  from  a  practical  law  by  this  (23),  that  while 
the  latter  exhibits  the  necessity  of  the  action,  it  takes  no 
account  of  the  consideration  whether  this  already  inheres  by  an 
internal  necessity  in  the  agent  (say,  a  holy  being),  or  whether, 
as  in  man,  it  is  contingent ;  for  where  the  former  is  the  case 
there  is  no  imperative.  Accordingly,  the  imperative  is  a  rule, 
the  conception  of  which  makes  necessary  an  action  that  is  sub 
jectively  contingent,  and  hence  represents  the  subject  as  one 
who  must  be  constrained  (necessitated)  to  agreement  with  this 
rule.  The  categorical  (unconditional)  imperative  is  one  that 
does  not  command  indirectly  through  the  idea  of  an  end  that 
can  be  attained  by  the  action,  but  immediately,  through  the 
mere  conception  of  this  action  itself  (its  form),  thinks  it  as 
objectively  necessary  and  makes  it  necessary. 

Xo  example  of  an  imperative  of  this  kind  can  be  supplied  by 
any  other  practical  doctrine  but  that  which  prescribes  obligation 
(the  doctrine  of  morals).  All  other  imperatives  are  technical 
and  conditioned.  The  ground  of  the  possibility  of  categorical 
imperatives  lies  in  this,  that  they  refer  to  no  other  property 
of  the  elective  will  (by  which  any  purpose  could  be  ascribed  to 
it),  but  only  to  its  freedom.  An  action  is  allowed  (licitum) 
which  is  not  contrary  to  obligation ;  and  this  freedom  which 
is  not  limited  by  any  opposed  imperative  is  called  right  of 
action  (facv.lto.s  moralis)  [Befugniss].  Hence  it  is  obvious 
what  is  meant  by  disallowed  (illicituni). 

[24]  METAPHYSIC   OF   MORALS.  279 

Duty  is  the  action  to  which  a  person  is  bound.  It  is  there 
fore  the  matter  of  obligation,  and  it  may  be  one  and  the  same 
duty  (as  to  the  action),  although  the  obligation  to  it  may  be  of 
different  kinds. 

The  categorical  imperative,  since  it  expresses  an  obligation 
in  respect  of  certain  actions,  is  a  moral  practical  law.  But  since 
obligation  contains  not  only  practical  necessity  (24)  (which  law 
in  general  expresses),  but  also  constraint,  the  imperative  men 
tioned  is  either  a  law  of  command  or  of  prohibition  according 
as  the  performance  or  omission  is  represented  as  duty.  An 
action  which  is  neither  commanded  nor  forbidden  is  merely 
allowed,  because  in  respect  of  it  there  is  no  law  limiting  freedom 
(right  of  action),  and  therefore  also  no  duty.  Such  an  action 
is  called  morally  indifferent  (indifferens,  adiaphoron,  res  meres 
facultatis}.  It  may  be  asked :  are  there  any  such,  and  if  there 
are,  then  in  order  that  one  may  be  free  to  do  or  forbear  a  thing 
as  he  pleases,  must  there  be,  besides  the  law  of  command  (lex 
prceceptiva,  lex  mandati)  and  the  law  of  prohibition  (lex  pro- 
hibitiva,  lex  vetiti),  also  a  law  of  permission  (lex  permissiva]  ?  If 
this  is  the  case,  then  the  right  of  action  would  not  be  concerned 
with  an  indifferent  action  (adiaphoron) ;  for  if  such  an  action  is 
considered  according  to  moral  laws,  it  could  not  require  any 
special  law. 

An  action  is  called  a  deed,  in  so  far  as  it  comes  under  laws 
of  obligation,  and,  consequently,  in  so  far  as  the  subject  is 
regarded  in  it  according  to  the  freedom  of  his  elective  will,  the 
agent  is  regarded  as  by  such  an  act  the  author  of  the  effect, 
and  this,  along  with  the  action  itself,  may  be  imputed  to  him  if 
he  is  previously  acquainted  with  the  law  by  virtue  of  which  an 
obligation  rests  on  him. 

A  Person  is  the  subject  whose  actions  are  capable  of  imputa 
tion.  Hence  moral  personality  is  nothing  but  the  freedom  of  a 
rational  being  under  moral  laws  (whereas  psychological  person 
ality  is  merely  the  power  of  being  conscious  to  oneself  of  the 
identity  of  one's  existence  in  different  circumstances).  Hence 
it  follows  that  a  person  is  subject  to  no  other  laws  than  those 
which  he  (either  alone  or  jointly  with  others)  gives  to  himself. 

280  1NTEODUCTION   TO   THE  [26] 

(25)  That  which  is  not  capable  of  any  imputation  is  called  a 
Thing.     Every  object  of  free  elective  will  .which  is  not  itself 
possessed  of  freedom  is,  therefore,  called  a  thing  (res  corporalis). 

A  deed  is  Eight  or  Wrong  in  general  (rectum  aut  minus 
rectum},  according  as  it  is  consistent  or  inconsistent  with  duty 
(factum  licitum  aut  illicitum),  no  matter  what  the  content  or 
the  origin  of  the  duty  may  be.  A  deed  inconsistent  with  duty 
is  called  transgression  (reatus). 

An  unintentional  transgression,  which,  however,  may  be 
imputed,  is  called  mere  fault  (culpa).  An  intentional  trans 
gression  (that  is,  one  which  is  accompanied  by  the  consciousness 
that  it  is  transgression)  is  called  crime  (dolus).  That  which  is 
right  according  to  external  laws  is  called  just  (justum) ;  what  is 
not  so  is  unjust  (injustum}. 

A  conflict  of  duties  (collisio  ojjiciorum  scu  obligationuni)  would 
be  such  a  relation  between  them  that  one  would  wholly  or 
partially  abolish  the  other.  Now  as  duty  and  obligation  are 
notions  which  express  the  objective  practical  necessity  of  certain 
actions,  and  as  two  opposite  rules  cannot  be  necessary  at  the 
same  time,  but  if  it  is  a  duty  to  act  according  to  one  of  them, 
it  is  then  not  only  not  a  duty  but  inconsistent  with  duty  to  act 
according  to  the  other ;  it  follows  that  a  conflict  of  duties  and 
obligations  is  inconceivable  (cibligationcs  non  colliduntur).  It 
may,  however,  very  well  happen,  that  in  the  same  subject  and 
the  rule  which  he  prescribes  to  himself  there  are  conjoined  two 
grounds  of  obligation  (rationes  obligandi},  of  which,  however,  one 
or  the  other  is  inadequate  to  oblige  (rationes  obligandi  non  obli 
gates},  and  then  one  of  them  is  not  a  duty.  When  two  such 
grounds  are  in  conflict,  practical  philosophy  does  not  say  that 
the  stronger  obligation  prevails  (fortior  oUigatio  vincit),  but  the 
stronger  (/round  of  obligation  prevails  (fortior  obligandi  ratio 

(26)  Binding   laws,    for    which    an    external   lawgiving    is 
possible,  are   called  in  general    external  laws   (leges    externcc}. 
Amongst  these  the  laws,   the  obligation  to  which  can  be  re 
cognized  by  reason  a  priori,  even  without  external  legislation, 
are  natural  though  external  laws  ;  those,  on  the  contrary,  which 

[27]  METAPHYSIC   OF  MORALS.  281 

without  actual  external  legislation  would  not  bind  at  all  (and, 
therefore,  would,  not  be  laws)  are  called  positive  laws.  It  is 
possible,  therefore,  to  conceive  an  external  legislation  which 
would  only  contain  [positive]1  laws ;  but  then  a  natural  law  must 
precede,  which  should  supply  the  ground  of  the  authority  of 
the  lawgiver  (that  is,  his  right  to  bind  others  by  his  mere  will). 

The  principle  which  makes  certain  actions  a  duty  is  a  prac 
tical  law.  The  rule  which  the  agent  adopts  from  subjective 
grounds  as  his  principle  is  called  his  Maxim ;  hence  with  the 
same  laws  the  maxims  of  the  agents  may  be  very  different. 

The  categorical  imperative,  which  only  expresses  in  general 
what  obligation  is,  is  this :  Act  according  to  a  maxim  which 
can  at  the  same  time  hold  good  as  a  universal  law.  You  must, 
therefore,  examine  your  actions  in  the  first  place  as  to  their 
subjective  principle ;  but  whether  this  principle  is  also  objec 
tively  valid  can  only  be  recognized  by  this,  that  when  your 
reason  puts  it  to  the  test  of  conceiving  yourself  as  giving 
therein  a  universal  law,  it  is  found  to  be  adapted  to  this 
universal  legislation. 

The  simplicity  of  this  law,  compared  with  the  great  and 
manifold  requirements  which  can  be  drawn  from  it,  must  at 
first  appear  surprising,  as  must  also  the  authoritative  dignity 
it  presents,  without  carrying  with  it  perceptibly  any  motive. 

(2?)  But  when,  in  this  astonishment  at  the  power  of  our  reason 
to  determine  choice  by  the  mere  idea  of  the  fitness  of  a  maxim 
for  the  universality  of  a  practical  law,  we  learn  that  it  is  just 
these  practical  (moral)  laws  that  first  make  known  a  property 
of  the  will  which  speculative  reason  could  never  have  arrived  at, 
either  from  d  priori  grounds  or  from  experience — and  if  it  did 
arrive  at  it  could  by  no  means  prove  its  possibility,  whereas 
those  practical  laws  incontestably  prove  this  property,  namely, 
freedom — then  we  shall  be  less  surprised  to  find  these  laws, 
like  mathematical  axioms,  undemonstrable  and  yet  apodictic, 
and  at  the  same  time  to  see  a  whole  field  of  practical  cognitions 

1  [The  original  has  '  natural. '    The  emendation,  which  is  clearly  neces 
sary,  was  suggested  to  me  by  Mr.  Philip  Sandford.] 


opened  before  us,  in  which  reason  in  its  theoretic  exercise,  with 
the  same  idea  of  freedom,  nay,  with  any  other  of  its  supersen 
sible  ideas,  must  find  everything  absolutely  closed  to  it.  The 
agreement  of  an  action  with  the  law  of  duty  is  its  legality 
(legalitas) ;  that  of  the  maxim  with  the  law  is  its  morality 
(moralitas).  Maxim  is  the  subjective  principle  of  action,  which 
the  subject  makes  a  rule  to  itself  (namely,  how  he  chooses  to 
act).  On  the  contrary,  the  principle  of  duty  is  that  which 
Keason  commands  him  absolutely  and  therefore  objectively 
(how  he  ought  to  act).  The  supreme  principle  of  the  order  is 
therefore :  Act  on  a  maxim  which  can  also  hold  good  as  a  uni 
versal  law.  Every  maxim  which  is  not  capable  of  being  so  is 
contrary  to  morality. 

Laws  proceed  from  the  Eational  Will ;  maxims  from  the 
elective  will.  The  latter  is  in  man  a  free  elective  will.  The 
Kational  Will,  which  is  directed  to  nothing  but  the  law  only, 
cannot  be  called  either  free  or  unfree,  because  it  is  not  directed 
to  actions,  but  immediately  to  the  legislation  for  the  maxims  of 
actions  (and  is  therefore  practical  reason  itself).  Consequently 
it  is  absolutely  necessary,  and  is  even  incapable  of  constraint. 
(28)  It  is  therefore  only  the  elective  will  that  can  be  called 

Freedom  of  elective  will,  however,  cannot  be  defined  as  the 
power  of  choosing  to  act  for  or  against  the  law  (libertas  indi/e- 
rentice),&s  some  have  attempted  to  define  it;  although  the  elective 
will  as  a  phenomenon  gives  many  examples  of  this  in  experience. 
For  freedom  (as  it  becomes  known  to  us  first  through  the  moral 
law)  is  known  to  us  only  as  a  negative  property  in  us,  namely, 
the  property  of  not  being  constrained  to  action  by  any  sensible 
motives.  Considered  as  a  noumenon,  however,  that  is,  as  to  the 
faculty  of  man  merely  as  an  intelligence,  we  are  quite  unable 
to  explain  theoretically  how  it  has  a  constraining  power  in  respect 
of  the  sensible  elective  will — that  is,  we  cannot  explain  it  in  its 
positive  character.  Only  this  we  can  very  readily  understand : 
that  although  experience  tells  us  that  man  as  an  object  in  the 
sensible  world  shows  a  power  of  choosing  not  only  according  to 
the  law  but  also  in  opposition  to  it,  nevertheless  his  freedom  as  a 

[29]  METAPHYSIC   OF  MORALS.  283 

being  in  the  intelligible  world  cannot  be  thus  defined,  since  phe 
nomena  can  never  enable  us  to  comprehend  any  supersensible 
object  (such  as  free  elective  will  is).  "We  can  see  also  that 
freedom  can  never  be  placed  in  this,  that  the  rational  subject  is 
able  to  choose  in  opposition  to  his  (legislative)  reason,  even 
though  experience  proves  often  enough  that  this  does  happen 
(a  thing,  however,  the  possibility  of  which  we  cannot  compre 
hend).  For  it  is  one  thing  to  admit  a  fact  (of  experience) ;  it  is 
another  to  make  it  the  principle  of  a  definition  (in  the  present 
case,  of  the  concept  of  free  elective  will)  and  the  universal 
criterion  between  this  and  arbitrmm  brutum  seu  servum ;  since 
in  the  former  case  we  do  not  assert  that  the  mark  necessarily 
belongs  to  the  concept,  which  we  must  do  in  the  latter  case. 
Freedom  in  relation  to  the  inner  legislation  of  the  reason  is 
alone  properly  a  power ;  the  possibility  of  deviating  from  this 
is  an  impotence.  How,  then,  can  the  former  be  defined  from  the 
latter  ?  (29)  A  definition  which  over  and  above  the  practical 
concept  adds  the  exercise  of  it  as  learned  from  experience  is  a 
bastard  definition  (definitio  hybrida)  which  puts  the  notion  in  a 
false  light. 

A  Law  (a  moral  practical  law)  is  a  proposition  which  con 
tains  a  categorical  imperative  (a  command).  He  who  gives 
commands  by  a  law  (imperans)  is  the  lawgiver  (legislator).  He 
is  the  author  (auctor)  of  the  obligation  imposed  by  the  law,  but 
not  always  author  of  the  law.  If  he  were  so,  the  law  would  be 
positive  (contingent)  and  arbitrary.  The  law  which  binds  us 
d  priori  and  unconditionally  by  our  own  reason  may  also  be 
expressed  as  proceeding  from  the  will  of  a  Supreme  Lawgiver, 
that  is  of  one  who  has  only  rights  and  no  duties  (namely,  from 
the  Divine  Will).  But  this  only  involves  the  idea  of  a  moral 
being  whose  will  is  law  for  all,  without  his  being  conceived  as 
the  author  of  it. 

Imputation  (imputatio)  in  the  moral  sense  is  the  judgment  by 
which  anyone  is  regarded  as  the  author  (causa  libera)  of  an 
action,  which  is  then  called  a  deed  (factum),  and  to  which  laws 
are  applicable;  and  if  this  judgment  brings  with  it  the  legal 
consequences  of  this  deed,  it  is  a  judicial  imputation  (imputatio 


judiciaria  s.  valida),  otherwise  it  is  only  discriminating  impu 
tation  (imputatio  dijudicatoria).  The  person  (whether  physical 
or  moral)  who  has  right  to  exercise  judicial  imputation  is  called 
the  judge  or  the  court  (judex  s.  forum). 

What  anyone  does  in  accordance  with  duty  beyond  what  he 
can  be  compelled  to  by  the  law  is  meritorious  (meritum)  ;  what 
he  does  only  just  in  accordance  with  the  law  is  duty  owed 
(debitum) ;  lastly,  what  he  does  less  than  the  law  demands  is 
moral  demerit  (demeritum).  The  legcd  effect  of  demerit  is 
punishment  (pcena)  \  that  of  a  meritorious  act,  reward  (prcemium) 
(so),  provided  that  this,  promised  in  the  law,  was  the  motive- 
Conduct  which  agrees  with  duty  owed  has  no  legal  effect.  Fair 
recompense  (remuneratio  s.  repensio  benefica]  stands  in  no  legal 
relation  to  the  deed. 

The  good  or  bad  consequences  of  an  obligatory  action,  or  the 
consequences  of  omitting  a  meritorious  action,  cannot  be  imputed 
to  the  agent  (modus  imputationis  tollens). 

The  good  consequences  of  a  meritorious  action,  and  the  bad 
consequences  of  an  unlawful  action,  can  be  imputed  (modus 
imputationis  ponens) . 

Subjectively  considered,  the  degree  of  imputdbility  (imputa- 
bilitas)  of  actions  must  be  estimated  by  the  greatness  of  the 
hindrances  which  have  to  be  overcome.  The  greater  the  natural 
hindrances  (of  sensibility)  and  the  less  the  moral  hindrance  (of 
duty),  the  higher  the  imputation  of  merit  in  a  good  deed.  For 
example,  if  at  a  considerable  sacrifice  I  rescue  from  great 
necessity  one  who  is  a  complete  stranger  to  myself. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  less  the  natural  hindrance,  and  the 
greater  the  hindrance  from  reasons  of  duty,  so  much  the  more 
is  transgression  imputed  (as  ill  desert).  Hence  the  state  of 
mind  of  the  agent,  whether  he  acted  in  the  excitement  of 
passion  or  with  cool  deliberation,  makes  an  important  difference 
in  imputation. 




TF  there  exists  on  any  subject  a  philosophy  (that  is,  a  system 
-*-  of  rational  knowledge  based  on  concepts),  then  there  must 
also  be  for  this  philosophy  a  system  of  pure  rational  concepts, 
independent  on  any  condition  of  intuition — in  other  words,  a 
Metaphysic.  It  may  be  asked  whether  metaphysical  elements 
are  required  also  for  every  practical  philosophy,  which  is  the 
doctrine  of  duties  [deontology],  and  therefore  also  for  Ethics,  in 
order  to  be  able  to  present  it  as  a  true  science  (systematically), 
not  merely  as  an  aggregate  of  separate  doctrines  (f ragmentarily). 
As  regards  pure  jurisprudence  no  one  will  question  this  require 
ment  ;  for  it  concerns  only  what  is  formal  in  the  elective  will, 
which  has  to  be  limited  in  its  external  relations  according  to 
laws  of  freedom ;  without  regarding  any  end  which  is  the 
matter  of  this  will.  Here,  therefore,  deontology  is  a  mere 
scientific  doctrine  (doctrina  scienticB).1 

1  One  who  is  acquainted  with  practical  philosophy  is  not,  therefore,  a 
practical  philosopher.  The  latter  is  he  who  makes  the  rational  end  the 
principle  of  his  actions,  while  at  the  same  time  he  joins  with  this  the 
necessary  knowledge  which,  as  it  aims  at  action,  must  not  be  spun  out 
into  the  most  subtle  threads  of  metaphysic,  unless  a  legal  duty  is 
in  question  ;  in  which  case  meum  and  tuum  must  be  accurately 
determined  in  the  balance  of  justice  (218),  on  the  principle  of 

286  PREFACE  TO   THE  [219] 

(2is)  Now  in  this  philosophy  (of  Ethics)  it  seems  contrary  to 
the  idea  of  it  that  we  should  go  back  to  metaphysical  elements  in 
order  to  make  the  notion  of  duty  purified  from  everything 
empirical  (from  every  feeling)  a  motive  of  action.  For  what 
sort  of  notion  can  we  form  of  the  mighty  power  and  herculean 
strength  which  would  be  sufficient  to  overcome  the  vice- 
breeding  inclinations,  if  Virtue  is  to  borrow  her  "  arms  from 
the  armoury  of  metaphysics,"  which  is  a  matter  of  speculation 
that  only  few  men  can  handle  ?  Hence  all  ethical  teaching  in 
lecture-rooms,  pulpits,  and  popular  books,  when  it  is  decked 
out  with  .fragments  of  metaphysics,  becomes  ridiculous.  But 
it  is  not,  therefore,  useless,  much  less  ridiculous,  to  trace  in 
metaphysics  the  first  principles  of  Ethics  ;  for  it  is  only  as  a 
philosopher  that  anyone  can  reach  the  first  principles  of  this 
conception  of  duty,  otherwise  we  could  not  look  for  either 
certainty  or  purity  in  the  ethical  teaching.  To  rely  for  this 
reason  on  a  certain  feeling  [or  sense],  which,  on  account  of  the 
effect  expected  from  it,  is  called  moral,  may,  perhaps,  even 
satisfy  the  popular  teacher,  provided  he  desires  as  the  criterion 
of  a  moral  duty  to  consider  the  problem :  "  If  everyone  in 
every  case  made  your  maxim  the  universal  law,  how  could  this 
law  be  consistent  with  itself  ?  "  (219)  But  if  it  were  merely 
feeling  that  made  it  our  duty  to  take  this  principle  as  a 
criterion,  then  this  would  not  be  dictated  by  reason,  but  only 
adopted  instinctively,  and  therefore  blindly. 

But  in  fact,  whatever  men  imagine,  no  moral  principle  is 
based  on  any  feeling,  but  such  a  principle  is  really  nothing  else 
than  an  obscurely  conceived  metaphysic  which  inheres  in  every 
man's  reasoning  faculty ;  as  the  teacher  will  easily  find  who 
tries  to  catechize  his  pupil  in  the  Socratic  method  about  the 

equality  of  action  and  reaction,  which  requires  something  like  mathe 
matical  proportion,  but  not  in  the  case  of  a  mere  ethical  duty.  For  in 
this  case  the  question  is  not  only  to  know  what  it  is  a  duty  to  do  (a  thing 
which  on  account  of  the  ends  that  all  men  naturally  have  can  be  easily 
decided),  but  the  chief  point  is  the  inner  principle  of  the  will,  namely, 
that  the  consciousness  of  this  duty  be  also  the  spring  of  action,  in  order 
that  we  may  be  able  to  say  of  the  man  who  joins  to  his  knowledge  this 
principle  of  wisdom,  that  he  is  a  practical  philosopher. 


imperative  of  duty  and  its  application  to  the  moral  judgment 
of  his  actions.  The  mode  of  stating  it  need  not  be  always 
metaphysical,  and  the  language  need  not  necessarily  be  scho 
lastic,  unless  the  pupil  is  to  be  trained  to  be  a  philosopher.  But 
•  the  thought  must  go  back  to  the  elements  of  metaphysics,  with 
out  which  we  cannot  expect  any  certainty  or  purity,  or  even 
motive-power  in  Ethics. 

If  we  deviate  from  this  principle,  and  begin  from  patho 
logical,  or  purely  sensitive,  or  even  moral,  feeling  (from  what  is 
subjectively  practical  instead  of  what  is  objective),  that  is,  from 
the  matter  of  the  will,  the  End,  not  from  its  form,  that  is,  the 
law,  in  order  from  thence  to  determine  duties ;  then,  certainly, 
there  are  no  metaphysical  elements  of  Ethics,  for  feeling,  by  what 
ever  it  may  be  excited,  is  always  physical.  But  then  ethical 
teaching,  whether  in  schools  or  lecture-rooms,  &c.,  is  corrupted 
in  its  source.  For  it  is  not  a  matter  of  indifference  by  what 
motives  or  means  one  is  led  to  a  good  purpose  (the  obedience 
to  duty).  However  disgusting,  then,  metaphysics  may  appear  to 
those  pretended  philosophers  who  dogmatize  oracularly,  or  even 
brilliantly,  about  the  doctrine  of  duty,  it  is,  nevertheless,  an 
indispensable  duty  for  those  who  oppose  it  to  go  back  to  its 
principles,  even  in  Ethics,  and  to  begin  by  going  to  school 
on  its  benches. 

(220)  We  may  fairly  wonder  how,  after  all  previous  expla 
nations  of  the  principles  of  duty,  so  far  as  it  is  derived  from 
pure  reason,  it  was  still  possible  to  reduce  it  again  to  a  doctrine 
of  Happiness — in  such  a  way,  however,  that  a  certain  moral 
happiness  not  resting  on  empirical  causes  was  ultimately  arrived 
at,  a  self-contradictory  nonentity.  In  fact,  when  the  thinking 
man  has  conquered  the  temptations  to  vice,  and  is  conscious  of 
having  done  his  (often  hard)  duty,  he  finds  himself  in  a  state 
of  peace  and  satisfaction  which  may  well  be  called  happiness, 
in  which  Virtue  is  her  own  reward.  Now,  says  the  Eudaemonist, 
this  delight,  this  happiness,  is  the  real  motive  of  his  acting 
virtuously.  The  notion  of  duty,  says  he,  does  not  immediately 
determine  his  will ;  it  is  only  by  means  of  the  happiness  in 

288  PREFACE   TO   THE  [22l] 

prospect  that  he  is  moved  to  his  duty.  Now,  on  the  other  hand, 
since  he  can  promise  himself  this  reward  of  virtue  only  from 
the  consciousness  of  having  done  his  duty,  it  is  clear  that  the 
latter  must  have  preceded  :  that  is,  he  must  feel  himself  bound 
to  do  his  duty  before  he  thinks,  and  without  thinking,  that  hap 
piness  will  be  the  consequence  of  obedience  to  duty.  He  is  thus 
involved  in  a  circle  in  his  assignment  of  cause  and  effect.  He  can 
only  hope  to  be  happy  if  he  is  conscious  of  his  obedience  to 
duty :  1  and  he  can  only  be  moved  to  obedience  to  duty  if  he 
foresees  that  he  will  thereby  become  happy.  But  in  this 
reasoning  there  is  also  a  contradiction.  For,  on  the  one  side, 
he  must  obey  his  duty,  without  asking  what  effect  this  will 
have  on  his  happiness,  consequently,  from  a  moral  principle 
(221) ;  on  the  other  side,  he  can  only  recognize  something  as 
his  duty  when  he  can  reckon  on  happiness  which  will  accrue 
to  him  thereby,  and  consequently,  on  a  pathological  principle, 
which  is  the  direct  opposite  of  the  former. 

I    have  in  another  place   (the   Berlin    "  Monatsschrift  "2), 

1  [Compare  the  remarks  of  Dr.  Adams  :  "  The  pleasures  of  self- appro 
bation  and  esteem  which  follow  virtue  certainly  arise  from  a  conscious 
sense  of  having  made  virtue  and  not  pleasure  our  choice  ;  not  from 
preferring  one  interest  or  pleasure  to  another,  but  from  acting  according 
to  right  without  any  other  consideration  whatsoever.  It  seems  essential 
to  this  pleasure  that  no  motive  of  interest  have  any  part  in  the  choice  or 
intention  of  the  agent.  And  (2)  To  make  this  pleasure  an  object  to  the 
mind,  the  virtue  whose  principle  we  are  seeking  after  must  be  already 
formed.  For,  let  it  be  observed,  that  the  pleasures  we  are  speaking  of 
are  themselves  virtuous  pleasures  ;  such  as  none  but  virtuous  minds  are 
capable  of  proposing  to  themselves  or  of  enjoying.  To  the  sensual  or 
voluptuous,  the  pleasures  that  arise  from  denying  our  appetites  or 
passions  have  no  existence.  These  cannot,  therefore,  be  the  motive  to 
that  virtue  which  is  already  presupposed.  ...  It  is  the  same  love  of 
virtue  which  makes  it  first  the  object  of  our  pursuit,  and,  when  acquired, 
the  subject  of  our  triumph  and  joy.  To  do  a  virtuous  action  for  the 
sake  of  these  virtuous  pleasures  is  to  choose  virtue  for  the  sake  of  being 
virtuous,  which  is  to  rest  in  it  as  an  end,  or  to  pursue  it  without  regard 
to  any  other  object  or  interest." — Sermon  on  the  Obligation  of  Virtiie 
(1754),  Note  2.] 

-  [The  essay  referred  to  is  that  ' '  On  the  Radical  Evil  in  Human 


reduced,  as  I  believe,  to  the  simplest  expressions  the  distinction 
between  pathological  and  moral  pleasure.  The  pleasure,  namely, 
•which  must  precede  the  obedience  to  the  law  in  order  that  one 
may  act  according  to  the  law,  is  pathological,  and  the  process 
follows  the  physical  order  of  nature;  that  which  must  be  preceded 
by  the  law  in  order  that  it  may  be  felt  is  in  the  moral  order. 
If  this  distinction  is  not  observed;  if  eudaemonism  (the  prin 
ciple  of  happiness)  is  adopted  as  the  principle  instead  of  elcuth- 
eronomy  (the  principle  of  freedom  of  the  inner  legislation),  the 
consequence  is  the  euthanasia  (quiet  death)  of  all  morality. 

The  cause  of  these  mistakes  is  no  other  than  the  following  : 
Those  who  are  accustomed  only  to  physiological  'explanations 
will  not  admit  into  their  heads  the  categorical  imperative  from 
which  these  laws  dictatorially  proceed,  notwithstanding  that  they 
feel  themselves  irresistibly  forced  by  it.  Dissatisfied  at  not  being 
able  to  explain  what  lies  wholly  beyond  that  sphere,  namely, 
freedom  of  the  elective  will,  elevating  as  is  this  privilege  that 
man  has  of  being  capable  of  such  an  idea,  they  are  stirred  up 
by  the  proud  claims  of  speculative  reason,  which  feels  its  power 
so  strongly  in  other  fields,  just  as  if  they  were  allies  leagued  in 
defence  of  the  omnipotence  of  theoretical  reason,  and  roused  by 
a  general  call  to  arms  to  resist  that  idea ;  and  thus  at  present, 
and  perhaps  for  a  long  time  to  come,  though  ultimately  in  vain, 
to  attack  the  moral  concept  of  freedom,  and  if  possible  render  it 


Ethics  in  ancient  times  signified  moral  philosophy  (philosophia 
moralis  \sittcnlehre]  generally,  which  was  also  called  the  doctrine 
of  duties  [deontology].  Subsequently  it  was  found  advisable 
to  confine  this  name  to  a  part  of  moral  philosophy,  namely,  to 
the  doctrine  of  duties  which  are  not  subject  to  external  laws 
(for  which  in  German  the  name  Tugendlehre  was  found  suitable). 
Thus  the  system  of  general  deontology  is  divided  into  that  of 
Jurisprudence  (Jiirisprudcntia],  which  is  capable  of  external  laws, 
and  of  Ethics,  which  is  not  thus  capable,  and  we  may  let  this 
division  stand. 


290  PREFACE   TO   THE  [223] 

I. — Exposition  of  the  Conception  of  Ethics. 

The  notion  of  duty  is  in  itself  already  the  notion  of  a 
constraint  of  the  free  elective  will  by  the  law;  whether  this 
constraint  be  an  external  one  or  be  self -constraint.  The  moral 
imperative,  by  its  categorical  (the  unconditional  "  ought ") 
announces  this  constraint,  which  therefore  does  not  apply  to 
all  rational  beings  (for  there  may  also  be  holy  beings),  but 
applies  to  men  as  rational  physical  beings  (223)  who  are  unholy 
enough  to  be  seduced  by  pleasure  to  the  transgression  of  the 
moral  law,  although  they  themselves  recognize  its  authority; 
and  when  they  do  obey  it,  to  obey  it  unwillingly  (with  resistance 
of  their  inclination) ;  and  it  is  in  this  that  the  constraint  pro 
perly  consists.1  Now,  as  man  is  &free  (moral)  being,  the  notion 
of  duty  can  contain  only  self-constraint  (by  the  idea  of  the  law 
itself),  when  we  look  to  the  internal  determination  of  the  will 
(the  spring) ,  for  thus  only  is  it  possible  to  combine  that  constraint 
(even  if  it  were  external)  with  the  freedom  of  the  elective  will. 
The  notion  of  duty  then  must  be  an  ethical  one. 

The  impulses  of  nature  then  contain  hindrances  to  the  fulfil 
ment  of  duty  in  the  mind  of  man,  and  resisting  forces,  some  of 
them  powerful ;  and  he  must  judge  himself  able  to  combat  these 
and  to  conquer  them  by  means  of  reason,  not  in  the  future,  but 
in  the  present,  simultaneously  with  the  thought ;  he  must  judge 
that  he  can  do  what  the  law  unconditionally  commands  that 
he  ought. 

1  Man,  however,  as  at  the  same  time  a  moral  being,  when  he  considers 
himself  objectively,  which  he  is  qualified  to  do  by  his  pure  practical 
reason  (i.e.  according  to  humanity  in  his  own  person),  finds  himself  holy 
enough  to  transgress  the  law  only  unwillingly  ;  for  there  is  no  man  so 
depraved  who  in  this  transgression  would  not  feel  a  resistance  and  an 
abhorrence  of  himself,  so  that  he  must  put  a  force  on  himself.  It  is 
impossible  to  explain  the  phenomenon  that  at  this  parting  of  the  ways 
(where  the  beautiful  fable  places  Hercules  between  virtue  and  sensuality) 
man  shows  more  propensity  to  obey  inclination  than  the  law.  For,  we 
can  only  explain  what  happens  by  tracing  it  to  a  cause  according  to 
physical  laws  ;  but  then  we  should  not  be  able  to  conceive  the  elective 
will  as  free.  Now  this  mutually  opposed  self-constraint  and  the 
inevitability  of  it  makes  us  recognize  the  incomprehensible  property  of 


Now  the  power  and  resolved  purpose  to  resist  a  strong  but 
unjust  opponent  is  called  fortitude  (fortitude)  (224),  and  when 
concerned  with  the  opponent  of  the  moral  character  within  us,  it 
is  virtue  (virtus,  fortitudo  moralis).  Accordingly,  general  deon 
tology,  in  that  part  which  brings  not  external,  but  internal, 
freedom  under  laws,  is  the  doctrine  of  virtue  [ethics]. 

Jurisprudence  had  to  do  only  with  the  formal  condition  of 
external  freedom  (the  condition  of  consistency  with  itself,  if  its 
maxim  became  a  universal  law),  that  is,  with  law.  Ethics,  on 
the  contrary,  supplies  us  with  a  matter  (an  object  of  the  free 
elective  will),  an  end  of  pure  reason  which  is  at  the  same  time 
conceived  as  an  objectively  necessary  end,  i.e.  as  duty  for  all 
men.  For,  as  the  sensible  inclinations  mislead  us  to  ends  (which 
are  the  matter  of  the  elective  will)  that  may  contradict  duty, 
the  legislating  reason  cannot  otherwise  guard  against  their 
influence  than  by  an  opposite  moral  end,  which  therefore  must 
be  given  d  priori  independently  on  inclination. 

An  end  is  an  object  of  the  elective  will  (of  a  rational  being), 
by  the  idea  of  which  this  will  is  determined  to  an  action  for  the 
production  of  this  object.  Now  I  may  be  forced  by  others  to 
actions  which  are  directed  to  an  end  as  means,  but  I  cannot  be 
forced  to  have  an  end ;  I  can  only  make  something  an  end  to 
myself.  If,  however,  I  am  also  bound  to  make  something 
which  lies  in  the  notions  of  practical  reason  an  end  to  myself, 
and  therefore,  besides  the  formal  determining  principle  of  the 
elective  will  (as  contained  in  law),  to  have  also  a  material  prin 
ciple,  an  end  which  can  be  opposed  to  the  end  derived  from 
sensible  impulses ;  then  this  gives  the  notion  of  an  end  which 
is  in  itself  a  duty.  The  doctrine  of  this  cannot  belong  to 
jurisprudence,  but  to  Ethics,  since  this  alone  includes  in  its 
conception  self-constraint  according  to  moral  laws. 

(225)  For  this  reason  Ethics  may  also  be  defined  as  the 
system  of  the  Ends  of  the  pure  practical  reason.  The  two  parts 
of  moral  philosophy  are  distinguished  as  treating  respectively  of 
Ends  and  of  Duties  of  Constraint.  That  Ethics  contains  duties 
to  the  observance  of  which  one  cannot  be  (physically)  forced  by 
others  is  merely  the  consequence  of  this,  that  it  is  a  doctrine  of 


292  PREFACE   TO   THE  [226J 

Ends,  since  to  be  forced  to  have  ends  or  to  set  them  before  one's 
self  is  a  contradiction. 

Now  that  Ethics  is  a  doctrine  of  virtue  (doctrina  ojficioruni 
villa  fix)  follows  from  the  definition  of  virtue  given  above  com 
pared  with  the  obligation,  the  peculiarity  of  which  has  just  been 
shown.  There  is  in  fact  no  other  determination  of  the  elective 
will,  except  that  to  an  end,  which  in  the  very  notion  of  it  implies 
that  1  cannot  even  physically  be  forced  to  it  by  the  elective  will 
of  others.  Another  may  indeed  force  me  to  do  something  which 
is  not  my  end  (but  only  means  to  the  end  of  another),  but  he 
cannot  force  me  to  make  it  mi/  oini  end,  and  yet  I  can  have  no 
end  except  of  my  own  making.  The  latter  supposition  would 
be  a  contradiction — an  act  of  freedom  which  yet  at  the  same 
time  would  not  be  free.  But  there  is  no  contradiction  in  setting 
before  one's  self  an  end  which  is  also  a  duty :  for  in  this  case  I 
constrain  myself,  and  this  is  quite  consistent  with  freedom.1 
But  how  is  such  an  end  possible  ?  That  is  now  the  question. 
(220)  For  the  possibility  of  the  notion  of  the  thing  (viz.,  that  it 
is  not  self-contradictory)  is  not  enough  to  prove  the  possibility 
of  the  thing  itself  (the  objective  reality  of  the  notion). 

II. — Exposition  of  the  Notion  of  an  End  which  is  also  a  Duty. 

We  can  conceive  the  relation  of  end  to  duty  in  two  ways ; 
either  starting  from  the  end  to  find  the  ma^im  of  the  dutiful 
actions;  or  conversely,  setting  out  from  this  to  find  the  end 
which  is  also  duty.  Jurisprudence  proceeds  in  the  former  way. 
It  is  left  to  everyone's  free  elective  will  what  end  he  will  choose 
for  his  action.  But  its  maxim  is  determined  a  2^'iori ;  namely, 
that  the  freedom  of  the  agent  must  be  consistent  with  the 
freedom  of  every  other  according  to  a  universal  law. 

1  The  less  a  man  can  be  physically  forced,  and  the  more  he  can  be 
•norally  forced  (by  the  mere  idea  of  duty),  so  much  the  freer  he  is.  The 
man,  for  example,  who  is  of  sufficiently  firm  resolution  and  strong  mind 
not  to  give  up  an  enjoyment  which  ho  has  resolved  on,  however  much 
loss  is  shown  as  resulting  therefrom,  and  who  yet  desists  from  his  purpose 
unhesitatingly,  though  very  reluctantly,  when  he  finds  that  it  would 
cause  him  to  neglect  an  official  duty  or  a  sick  father  ;  this  man  proves 
his  freedom  in  the  highest  degree  by  this  very  thing,  that  he  cannot  resist 
the  voice  of  duty. 


Ethics,  however,  proceeds  in  the  opposite  way.  It  cannot 
start  from  the  ends  which  the  man  may  propose  to  himself,  and 
hence  give  directions  as  to  the  maxims  he  should  adopt,  that  is, 
as  to  his  duty ;  for  that  would  be  to  take  empirical  principles 
of  maxims,  and  these  could  not  give  any  notion  of  duty ;  since 
this,  the  categorical  "  ought,"  has  its  root  in  pure  reason  alone. 
Indeed,  if  the  maxims  were  to  be  adopted  in  accordance  with 
those  ends  (which  are  all  selfish),  we  could  not  properly  speak 
of  the  notion  of  duty  at  all.  Hence  in  Ethics  the  notion  of 
duty  must  lead  to  ends,  and  must  on  moral  principles  give  the 
foundation  of  maxims  with  respect  to  the  ends  which  we  ought 
to  propose  to  ourselves. 

Setting  aside  the  question  what  sort  of  end  that  is  which  is 
in  itself  a  duty,  and  how  such  an  end  is  possible  (227),  it  is 
here  only  necessary  to  show  that  a  duty  of  this  kind  is  called  a 
duty  of  virtue,  and  why  it  is  so  called. 

To  every  duty  corresponds  a  right  of  action  (facultas  moralis 
gencratim),  but  all  duties  do  not  imply  a  corresponding  right 
(facultas  juridica]  of  another  to  compel  anyone,  but  only  the 
duties  called  legal  duties.  Similarly  to  all  ethical  obligation 
corresponds  the  notion  of  virtue,  but  it  does  not  follow  that  all 
ethical  duties  are  duties  of  virtue.  Those,  in  fact,  are  not  so 
which  do  not  concern  so  much  a  certain  end  (matter,  object  of 
the  elective  will),  but  merely  that  which  is  formal  in  the  moral 
determination  of  the  will  (ex.  gr.  that  the  dutiful  action  must  also 
be  done  from  duty].  It  is  only  an  end  which  is  also  duty  that  can 
be  called  a  duty  of  virtue.  Hence  there  are  several  of  the  latter 
kind  (and  thus  there  are  distinct  virtues) ;  on  the  contrary,  there 
is  only  one  duty  of  the  former  kind,  but  it  is  one  which  is  valid 
for  all  actions  (only  one  virtuous  disposition). 

The  duty  of  virtue  is  essentially  distinguished  from  the  duty 
of  justice  in  this  respect,  that  it  is  morally  possible  to  be  exter 
nally  compelled  to  the  latter,  whereas  the  former  rests  on  free 
self-constraint  only.  For  finite  holy  beings  (which  cannot  even 
be  tempted  to  the  violation  of  duty)  there  is  no  doctrine  of 
virtue,  but  only  moral  philosophy,  the  latter  being  an  autonomy 
of  practical  reason,  whereas  the  former  is  also  an  autocracy  of  it. 

294  PREFACE  TO   THE  [228J 

That  is,  it  includes  a  consciousness — not  indeed  immediately 
perceived,  but  rightly  concluded  from  the  moral  categorical 
imperative — of  the  power  to  become  master  of  one's  inclinations 
which  resist  the  law  ;  so  that  human  morality  in  its  highest 
stage  can  yet  be  nothing  more  than  virtue ;  even  if  it  were 
quite  pure  (perfectly  free  from  the  influence  of  a  spring  foreign 
to  duty),  (228)  a  state  which  is  poetically  personified  under 
the  name  of  the  wise  man  (as  an  ideal  to  which  one  should 
continually  approximate). 

Virtue,  however,  is  not  to  be  defined  and  esteemed  merely  as 
habit,  and  (as  it  is  expressed  in  the  prize  essay  of  Cochius1)  as  a 
long  custom  acquired  by  practice  of  morally  good  actions.  For, 
if  this  is  not  an  effect  of  well-resolved  and  firm  principles  ever 
more  and  more  purified,  then,  like  any  other  mechanical  arrange 
ment  brought  about  by  technical  practical  reason,  it  is  neither 
armed  for  all  circumstances  nor  adequately  secured  against  the 
change  that  may  be  wrought  by  new  allurements. 


To  virtue  =  +  a  is  opposed  as  its  logical  contradictory  (contra- 
dictorie  oppositum]  the  negative  lack  of  virtue  (moral  weakness) 
=  0 ;  but  vice  =  -  a  is  its  contrary  (contrarie  s.  realiter  opposi 
tum}  ;  and  it  is  not  merely  a  needless  question  but  an  offensive 
one  to  ask  whether  great  crimes  do  not  perhaps  demand  more 
strength  of  mind  than  great  virtues.  For  by  strength  of  mind 
we  understand  the  strength  of  purpose  of  a  man,  as  a  being 
endowed  with  freedom,  and  consequently  so  far  as  he  is  master 
of  himself  (in  his  senses)  and  therefore  in  a  healthy  condition  of 
mind.  But  great  crimes  are  paroxysms,  the  very  sight  of  which 
makes  the  man  of  healthy  mind  shudder.  The  question  would 
therefore  be  something  like  this :  whether  a  man  in  a  fit  of  mad 
ness  can  have  more  physical  strength  than  if  he  is  in  his  senses ; 
and  we  may  admit  this,  without  on  that  account  ascribing  to 
him  more  strength  of  mind,  if  by  mind  we  understand  the  vital 

1  [Leonhard  Cochius,  court  preacher,  who  obtained  the  prize  of  the 
Berlin  Academy  for  his  essay  "  Uber  die  Neigungen,"  Berlin,  1769.] 

[22f—  230]  METAPHYSICAL   ELEMENTS   OF   ETHICS.  295 

principle  of  man  in  the  free  use  of  his  powers.  For  since  those 
crimes  have  their  ground  merely  in  the  power  of  the  inclinations 
that  weaken  reason,  which  does  not  prove  strength  of  mind,  this 
question  would  be  nearly  the  same  as  the  question  whether 
a  man  (229)  in  a  fit  of  illness  can  show  more  strength  than 
in  a  healthy  condition ;  and  this  may  be  directly  denied,  since 
the  want  of  health,  which  consists  in  the  proper  balance  of  all 
the  bodily  forces  of  the  man,  is  a  weakness  in  the  system  of 
these  forces,  by  which  system  alone  we  can  estimate  absolute 

III. — Of  the  Reason  for  conceiving  an  End  which  is  also  a  Duty. 

An  end  is  an  object  of  the  free  elective  will,  the  idea  of  which 
determines  this  will  to  an  action  by  which  the  object  is  produced 
Accordingly  every  action  has  its  end,  and  as  no  one  can  have  an 
end  without  himself  making  the  object  of  his  elective  will  his 
end,  hence  to  have  some  end  of  actions  is  an  act  of  the  freedom 
of  the  agent,  not  an  effect  of  physical  nature.  Now,  since  this 
act  which  determines  an  end  is  a  practical  principle  which  com 
mands  not  the  means  (therefore  not  conditionally)  but  the  end 
itself  (therefore  unconditionally),  hence  it  is  a  categorical  impe 
rative  of  pure  practical  reason,  and  one  therefore  which  combines 
a  concept  of  duty  with  that  of  an  end  in  general. 

Now  there  must  be  such  an  end  and  a  categorical  imperative 
corresponding  to  it.  For  since  there  are  free  actions,  there  must 
also  be  ends  to  which  as  an  object  those  actions  are  directed. 
Amongst  these  ends  there  must  also  be  some  which  are  at  the 
same  time  (that  is,  by  their  very  notion)  duties.  For  if  there 
were  none  such,  then  since  no  actions  can  be  without  an  end, 
all  ends  which  practical  reason  might  have  would  be  valid  only 
as  means  to  other  ends,  and  a  categorical  imperative  would  be 
impossible ;  a  supposition  which  destroys  all  moral  philosophy. 

(230)  Here,  therefore,  we  treat  not  of  ends  which  man  actually 
makes  to  himself  in  accordance  with  the  sensible  impulses  of  his 
nature,  but  of  objects  of  the  free  elective  will  under  its  own 
laws — objects  which  he  ought  to  make  his  end.  We  may  call  the 
former  technical  (subjective),  properly  pragmatical,  including 

296  PREFACE   TO   THE  [23l] 

the  rules  of  prudence  in  the  choice  of  its  ends ;  but  the  latter 
we  must  call  the  moral  (objective)  doctrine  of  ends.  This  dis 
tinction  is,  however,  superfluous  here,  since  moral  philosophy 
already  by  its  very  notion  is  clearly  separated  from  the  doctrine 
of  physical  nature  (in  the  present  instance,  anthropology) ;  the 
latter  resting  on  empirical  principles,  whereas  the  moral  doctrine 
of  ends  which  treats  of  duties  rests  on  principles  given  d  priori 
in  pure  practical  reason. 

IV. —  What  arc  the  Ends  which  are  also  Duties  ? 

They  are — Our  own  Perfection  ;  The  Happiness  of 

We  cannot  invert  these,  and  make  on  one  side  our  own 
happiness,  and  on  the  other  the  perfection  of  others,  ends  which 
should  be  in  themselves  duties  for  the  same  person. 

For  ones  own  happines  is,  no  doubt,  an  end  that  all  men 
have  (by  virtue  of  the  impulse  of  their  nature),  but  this  end 
cannot  without  contradiction  be  regarded  as  a  duty.  What 
a  man  of  himself  inevitably  wills  does  not  come  under  the 
notion  of  duty,  for  this  is  a  constraint  to  an  end  reluctantly 
adopted.  It  is,  therefore,  a  contradiction  to  say  that  a  man  is 
in  duty  bound  to  advance  his  own  happiness  with  all  his  power. 

It  is  likewise  a  contradiction  to  make  the  perfection  of 
another  my  end,  and  to  regard  myself  as  in  duty  bound  to 
promote  it  (231).  For  it  is  just  in  this  that  the  perfection  of 
another  man  as  a  person  consists,  namely,  that  he  is  able  of 
himself  to  set  before  him  his  own  end  according  to  his  own 
notions  of  duty ;  and  it  is  a  contradiction  to  require  (to  make, 
it  a  duty  for  me)  that  I  should  do  something  which  no  other 
but  himself  can  do. 

V. — Explanation  of  these  two  Notions. 
(A.) — Our  own  Perfection. 

The  word  Perfection  is  liable  to  many  misconceptions.  It 
is  sometimes  understood  as  a  notion  belonging  to  transcen 
dental  philosophy ;  viz.,  the  notion  of  the  totality  of  the  mani- 


fold  which  taken  together  constitutes  a  Thing;  sometimes, 
again,  it  is  understood  as  belonging  to  teleology,  so  that  it 
signifies  the  correspondence  of  the  properties  of  a  thing  to  an 
end.  Perfection  in  the  former  sense  might  be  called  quantitative 
(material),  in  the  latter  qualitative  (formal)  perfection.  The 
former  can  be  one  only,  for  the  whole  of  what  belongs  to  the 
one  thing  is  one.  But  of  the  latter  there  may  be  several  in  one 
thing ;  and  it  is  of  the  latter  property  that  we  here  treat. 

When  it  is  said  of  the  perfection  that  belongs  to  man 
generally  (properly  speaking,  to  humanity),  that  it  is  in  itself 
a  duty  to  make  this  our  end,  it  must  be  placed  in  that  which 
may  be  the  effect  of  one's  deed,  not  in  that  which  is  merely  an 
endowment  for  which  we  have  to  thank  nature ;  for  otherwise 
it  would  not  be  duty.  Consequently,  it  can  be  nothing  else 
than  the  cultivation  of  one's  power  (or  natural  capacity)  and  also 
of  one's  will  [  Wille]  (moral  disposition)  to  satisfy  the  require 
ment  of  duty  in  general.  The  supreme  element  in  the  former 
(the  power)  is  the  Understanding,  it  being  the  faculty  of  con 
cepts,  and,  therefore,  also  of  those  concepts  which  refer  to  duty. 
(232)  First,  it  is  his  duty  to  labour  to  raise  himself  out  of  the 
rudeness  of  his  nature,  out  of  his  animal  nature  more  and  more 
to  humanity,  by  which  alone  he  is  capable  of  setting  before  him 
ends,  to  supply  the  defects  of  his  ignorance  by  instruction,  and 
to  correct  his  errors ;  he  is  not  merely  counselled  to  do  this 
by  reason  as  technically  practical,  with  a  view  to  his  purposes 
of  other  kinds  (as  art),  but  reason,  as  morally  practical,  abso 
lutely  commands  him  to  do  it,  and  makes  this  end  his  duty,  in 
order  that  he  may  be  worthy  of  the  humanity  that  dwells  in 
him.  Secondly,  to  carry  the  cultivation  of  his  will  up  to  the 
purest  virtuous  disposition,  that,  namely,  in  which  the  law  is 
also  the  spring  of  his  dutiful  actions,  and  to  obey  it  from  duty, 
for  this  is  internal  morally  practical  perfection.  This  is  called 
the  moral  sense  (as  it  were  a  special  sense,  scnsus  moralis),  because 
it  is  a  feeling  of  the  effect  which  the  legislative  will  within 
himself  exercises  on  the  faculty  of  acting  accordingly.  This  is, 
indeed,  often  misused  fanatically,  as  though  (like  the  genius 
of  Socrates)  it  preceded  reason,  or  even  could  dispense  with 

298  PREFACE   TO   THE  [233] 

judgment  of  reason ;  but  still  it  is  a  moral  perfection,  making 
every  special  end,  which  is  also  a  duty,  one's  own  end.1 

(B.) — Happiness   of  Others. 

It  is  inevitable  for  human  nature  that  a  man  should  wish 
and  seek  for  happiness,  that  is,  satisfaction  with  his  condition, 
with  certainty  of  the  continuance  of  this  satisfaction.  But  for 
this  very  reason  it  is  not  an  end  that  is  also  a  duty.  Some 
writers  still  make  a  distinction  between  moral  and  physical 
happiness  (the  former  consisting  in  satisfaction  with  one's 
person  (233)  and  moral  behaviour,  that  is,  with  what  one  does  \ 
the  other  in  satisfaction  with  that  which  nature  confers,  conse 
quently  with  what  one  enjoys  as  a  foreign  gift).  Without  at 
present  censuring  the  misuse  of  the  word  (which  even  involves 
a  contradiction),  it  must  be  observed  that  the  feeling  of  the 
former  belongs  solely  to  the  preceding  head,  namely,  perfection. 
For  he  who  is  to  feel  himself  happy  in  the  mere  consciousness 
of  his  uprightness  already  possesses  that  perfection  which  in 
the  previous  section  was  defined  as  that  end  which  is  also 

If  happiness,  then,  is  in  question,  which  it  is  to  be  my  duty 
to  promote  as  my  end,  it  must  be  the  happiness  of  other  men 
whose  (permitted)  end  I  hereby  make  also  mine.  It  still  remains 
left  to  themselves  to  decide  what  they  shall  reckon  as  belonging 
to  their  happiness  ;  only  that  it  is  in  my  power  to  decline  many 
things  which  they  so  reckon,  but  which  I  do  not  so  regard, 
supposing  that  they  have  no  right  to  demand  it  from  me  as 
their  own.  A  plausible  objection  often  advanced  against  the 
division  of  duties  above  adopted  consists  in  setting  over  against 
that  .end  a  supposed  obligation  to  study  my  own  (physical) 
happiness,  and  thus  making  this,  which  is  my  natural  and 
merely  subjective  end,  my  duty  (and  objective  end).  This 
requires  to  be  cleared  up. 

Adversity,  pain,  and  want  are  great  temptations  to  trans 
gression  of  one's  duty  ;  accordingly  it  would  seem  that  strength, 

'["  Object,  "first  «</.] 

[234-235]  METAPHYSICAL   ELEMENTS   OF   ETHICS.  299' 

health,  a  competence,  and  welfare  generally,  which  are  opposed 
to  that  influence,  may  also  be  regarded  as  ends  that  are  also 
duties  ;  that  is,  that  it  is  a  duty  to  promote  our  own  happiness, 
not  merely  to  make  that  of  others  our  end.  But  in  that  case  the 
end  is  not  happiness  but  the  morality  of  the  agent ;  and  happi 
ness  is  only  the  means  of  removing  the  hindrances  to  morality ; 
permitted  means  (234),  since  no  one  has  a  right  to  demand  from 
me  the  sacrifice  of  my  not  immoral  ends.  It  is  not  directly  a 
duty  to  seek  a  competency  for  one's  self ;  but  indirectly  it  may 
be  so ;  namely,  in  order  to  guard  against  poverty,  which  is  a 
great  temptation  to  vice.  But  then  it  is  not  my  happiness  but 
my  morality,  to  maintain  which  in  its  integrity  is  at  once  my 
aim  and  my  duty. 

VI. — Ethics  does  not  supply  Laws  for  Actions  (which  is  done  by 
Jurisprudence],  but  only  for  the  Maxims  of  Action. 

The  notion  of  duty  stands  in  immediate  relation  to  a  law 
(even  though  I  abstract  from  every  end  which  is  the  matter  of 
the  law)  as  is  shown  by  the  formal  principle  of  duty  in  the 
categorical  imperative  :  "  Act  so  that  the  maxims  of  thy  action 
might  become  a  universal  law."  But  in  Ethics  this  is  conceived 
as  the  law  of  thy  own  will,  not  of  will  in  general,  which  might 
be  that  of  others  ;  for  in  the  latter  case  it  would  give  rise  to  a 
judicial  duty  which  does  not  belong  to  the  domain  of  Ethics. 
In  Ethics,  maxims  are  regarded  as  those  subjective  laws  which 
merely  have  the  specific  character  of  universal  legislation,  which 
is  only  a  negative  principle  (not  to  contradict  a  law  in  general). 
How,  then,  can  there  be  further  a  law  for  the  maxims  of 
actions  ? 

It  is  the  notion  of  an  end  which  is  also  a  duty,  a  notion  peculiar 
to  Ethics,  that  alone  is  the  foundation  of  a  law  for  the  maxims 
of  actions ;  by  making  the  subjective  end  (that  which  everyone 
has)  subordinate  to  the  objective  end  (that  which  everyone 
ought  to  make  his  own).  The  imperative  :  "  Thou  shalt  make 
this  or  that  thy  end  (  the  happiness  of  others),"  (235)  applies 
to  the  matter  of  the  elective  will  (an  object).  Now  since  no  free 
action  is  possible,  without  the  agent  having  in  view  in  it  some 

300  PREFACE   TO   THE  [236] 

end  (as  matter  of  his  elective  will),  it  follows  that  if  there  is 
an  end  which  is  also  a  duty,  the  maxims  of  actions  which  are 
means  to  ends  must  contain  only  the  condition  of  fitness  for  a 
possible  universal  legislation  :  on  the  other  hand,  the  end  which 
is  also  a  duty  can  make  it  a  law  that  we  should  have  such  a 
maxim,  whilst  for  the  maxim  itself  the  possibility  of  agreeing 
with  a  universal  legislation  is  sufficient. 

For  maxims  of  actions  may  be  arbitrary,  and  are  only  limited 
by  the  condition  of  fitness  for  a  universal  legislation,  which  is 
the  formal  principle  of  actions.  But  a  law  abolishes  the 
arbitrary  character  of  actions,  and  is  by  this  distinguished  from 
recommendation  (in  which  one  only  desires  to  know  the  best 
means  to  an  end). 

VII. — Ethical  Duties  are  of  indeterminate,  Juridical  Duties 
of  strict,  Obligation. 

This  proposition  is  a  consequence  of  the  foregoing  ;  for  if  the 
law  can  only  command  the  maxim  of  the  actions,  not  the  actions 
themselves,  this  is  a  sign  that  it  leaves  in  the  observance  of  it  a 
latitude  (latitude)  for  the  elective  will;  that  is,  it  cannot  definitely 
assign  how  and  how  much  we  should  do  by  the  action  towards 
the  end  which  is  also  duty.  But  by  an  indeterminate  duty  is 
not  meant  a  permission  to  make  exceptions  from  the  maxim  of 
the  actions,  but  only  the  permission  to  limit  one  maxim  of  duty 
by  another  (236)  (ex.  gr.  the  general  love  of  our  neighbour  by  the 
love  of  parents) ;  and  this  in  fact  enlarges  the  field  for  the  prac 
tice  of  virtue.  The  more  indeterminate  the  duty,  and  the  more 
imperfect  accordingly  the  obligation  of  the  man  to  the  action, 
and  the  closer  he  nevertheless  brings  this  maxim  of  obedience 
thereto  (in  his  own  mind)  to  the  strict  duty  (of  justice)  [dcs 
Rechts],  so  much  the  more  perfect  is  his  virtuous  action. 

Hence  it  is  only  imperfect  duties  that  are  duties  of  virtue. 
The  fulfilment  of  them  is  merit  (meritum)  =  +  a  ;  but  their  trans 
gression  is  not  necessarily  demerit  (demeritum]  =  -  a,  but  only 
moral  unworth  =  0,  unless  the  agent  made  it  a  principle  not  to 
conform  to  those  duties.  The  strength  of  purpose  in  the  former 
case  is  alone  properly  called  Virtue  [Tugcnd]  (virtus)',  the  weak- 


ness  in  the  latter  case  is  not  vice  (vitium),  but  rather  only  lack 
of  virtue  [Untugcnd],  a  want  of  moral  strength  (defectus  moralis). 
(As  the  word  '  Tugend '  is  derived  from  '  taugen '  [to  be  good 
for  something],  '  Untugend '  by  its  etymology  signifies  good  for 
nothing).1  Every  action  contrary  to  duty  is  called  transgression 
(pcccatum).  Deliberate  transgression  which  has  become  a 
principle  is  what  properly  constitutes  what  is  called  vice 

Although  the  conformity  of  actions  to  justice  [Rccht]  (i.e.  to 
be  an  upright  [reclitlichcr\  man)  is  nothing  meritorious,  yet  the 
conformity  of  the  maxim  of  such  actions  regarded  as  duties,  that 
is,  Reverence  for  justice,  is  meritorious.  For  by  this  the  man 
makes  the  right  of  humanity  or  of  men  his  mm  end,  and  thereby 
enlarges  his  notion  of  duty  beyond  that  of  indebtedness  (o/icium 
debiti),  since  although  another  man  by  virtue  of  his  rights  can 
demand  that  my  actions  shall  conform  to  the  law,  he  cannot 
demand  that  the  law  shall  also  contain  the  spring  of  these 
actions.  The  same  thing  is  true  of  the  general  ethical  com 
mand,  "Act  dutifully  from  a  sense  of  duty."  To  fix  this 
disposition  firmly  in  one's  mind  and  to  quicken  it  is,  as  in  the 
former  case,  meritorious  (237),  because  it  goes  beyond  the  law  of 
duty  in  actions,  and  makes  the  law  in  itself  the  spring. 

But  just  for  this  reason  those  duties  also  must  be  reckoned 
as  of  indeterminate  obligation,  in  respect  of  which  there  exists 
a  subjective  principle  which  ethically  rewards  them  ;  or  to  bring 
them  as  near  as  possible  to  the  notion  of  a  strict  obligation,  a 
principle  of  susceptibility  of  this  reward  according  to  the  law  of 
virtue  ;  namely,  a  moral  pleasure  which  goes  beyond  mere  satis 
faction  with  one's  self  (which  may  be  merely  negative),  and  of 
which  it  is  proudly  said  that  in  this  consciousness  virtue  is  its 
own  reward. 

When  this  merit  is  a  merit  of  the  man  in  respect  of  other 
men  of  promoting  their  natural  ends,  which  are  recognized  as 
such  by  all  men  (making  their  happiness  his  own),  we  might 
call  it  the  su'cct  merit,  the  consciousness  of  which  creates  a  moral 

1  [Usage  gives  it  a  strong  meaning,  perhaps  from  euphemism.] 

302  PREFACE  TO   THE  [238] 

enjoyment  in  which  men  are  by  sympathy  inclined  to  revel  \ 
whereas  the  litter  merit  of  promoting  the  true  welfare  of  other 
men,  even  though  they  should  not  recognize  it  as  such  (in  the 
case  of  the  unthankful  and  ungrateful),  has  commonly  no  such 
reaction,  but  only  produces  a  satisfaction  with  one's  self,  although 
in  the  latter  case  this  would  be  even  greater. 

VIII. — Exposition  of  the  Duties  of  Virtue  as  Intermediate  Duties. 
(1)  Our  own  Perfection  as  an  end  which  is  also  a  duty. 

(a)  Physical  perfection  ;  that  is,  cultivation  of  all  our  facul 
ties  generally  for  the  promotion  of  the  ends  set  before  us  by 
reason.  That  this  is  a  duty,  and  therefore  an  end  in  itself,  and 
that  the  effort  to  effect  this  even  without  regard  (233)  to  the 
advantage  that  it  secures  us,  is  based,  not  on  a  conditional 
(pragmatic),  but  an  unconditional  (moral)  imperative,  may  be 
seen  from  the  following  consideration.  The  power  of  proposing 
to  ourselves  an  end  is  the  characteristic  of  humanity  (as  distin 
guished  from  the  brutes).  With  the  end  of  humanity  in  our 
own  person  is  therefore  combined  the  rational  will  [Vernimft- 
wille],  and  consequently  the  duty  of  deserving  well  of  humanity 
by  culture  generally,  by  acquiring  or  advancing  the  power  to 
carry  out  all  sorts  of  possible  ends,  so  far  as  this  power  is  to  be 
found  in  man  ;  that  is,  it  is  a  duty  to  cultivate  the  crude  capa 
cities  of  our  nature,  since  it  is  by  that  cultivation  that  the 
animal  is  raised  to  man,  therefore  it  is  a  duty  in  itself. 

This  duty,  however,  is  merely  ethical,  that  is,  of  indetermi 
nate  obligation.  No  principle  of  reason  prescribes  how  far  one 
must  go  in  this  effort  (in  enlarging  or  correcting  his  faculty  of 
understanding,  that  is,  in  acquisition  of  knowledge  or  technical 
capacity)  ;  and  besides  the  difference  in  the  circumstances  into 
which  men  may  come  makes  the  choice  of  the  kind  of  employ 
ment  for  which  he  should  cultivate  his  talent  very  arbitrary. 
Here,  therefore,  there  is  no  law  of  reason  for  actions,  but  only 
for  the  maxim  of  actions,  viz.  :  "  Cultivate  thy  faculties  of  mind 
and  body  so  as  to  be  effective  for  all  ends  that  may  come  in  thy 
way,  uncertain  which  of  them  may  become  thy  own." 


(b)  Cultivation  of  Morality  in  ourselves.  The  greatest  moral 
perfection  of  man  is  to  do  his  duty,  and  that  from  duty  (that 
the  law  be  not  only  the  rule  but  also  the  spring  of  his  actions). 
Now  at  first  sight  this  seems  to  be  a  strict  obligation,  and  as  if 
the  principle  of  duty  commanded  not  merely  the  legality  of  every 
action,  but  also  the  morality,  i.e.  the  mental  disposition,  with 
the  exactness  and  strictness  of  a  law  ;  but  in  fact  the  law  com 
mands  even  here  only  the  maxim  of  the  action  (239),  namely,  that 
we  should  seek  the  ground  of  obligation,  not  in  the  sensible 
impulses  (advantage  or  disadvantage),  but  wholly  in  the  law ; 
so  that  the  action  itself  is  not  commanded.  For  it  is  not  possible 
to  man  to  see  so  far  into  the  depth  of  his  own  heart  that  he 
could  ever  be  thoroughly  certain  of  the  purity  of  his  moral 
purpose  and  the  sincerity  of  his  mind  even  in  one  single  action,- 
although  he  has  no  doubt  about  the  legality  of  it.  Nay,  often 
the  weakness  which  deters  a  man  from  the  risk  of  a  crime  is 
regarded  by  him  as  virtue  (which  gives  the  notion  of  strength). 
And  how  many  there  are  who  may  have  led  a  long  blameless 
life,  who  are  only  fortunate  in  having  escaped  so  many  tempta 
tions.  How  much  of  the  element  of  pure  morality  in  their 
mental  disposition  may  have  belonged  to  each  deed  remains 
hidden  even  from  themselves. 

Accordingly,  this  duty  to  estimate  the  worth  of  one's  actions 
not  merely  by  their  legality,  but  also  by  their  morality  (mental 
disposition),  is  only  of  indeterminate  obligation  ;  the  law  does 
not  command  this  internal  action  in  the  human  mind  itself,  but 
only  the  maxim  of  the  action,  namely,  that  we  should  strive 
with  all  our  power  that  for  all  dutiful  actions  the  thought  of 
duty  should  be  of  itself  an  adequate  spring. 

(2)  Happiness  of  Others  as  an  end  which  is  also  a  duty. 

(a)  Physical  Welfare. — Benevolent  wishes  may  be  unlimited, 
for  they  do  not  imply  doing  anything.  But  the  case  is  more 
difficult  with  benevolent  action,  especially  when  this  is  to  be 
done,  not  from  friendly  inclination  (love)  to  others,  but  from 
duty,  at  the  expense  of  the  sacrifice  and  mortification  of  many 
of  our  appetites.  That  this  beneficence  is  a  duty  results  from 

304  PREFACE   TO   THE  [240] 

this  :  that  since  our  self-love  cannot  be  separated  from  the 
need  to  be  loved  by  others  (to  obtain  help  from  them  in  case  of 
necessity)  (240),  we  therefore  make  ourselves  an  end  for  others  ; 
and  this  maxim  can  never  be  obligatory  except  by  having  the 
specific  character  of  a  universal  law,  and  consequently  by  means 
of  a  will  that  we  should  also  make  others  our  ends.  Hence 
the  happiness  of  others  is  an  end  that  is  also  a  duty.1 

I  am  only  bound  then  to  sacrifice  to  others  a  part  of  my 
welfare  without  hope  of  recompense,  because  it  is  my  duty,  ami 
it  is  impossible  to  assign  definite  limits  how  far  that  may  go. 
Much  depends  on  what  would  be  the  true  want  of  each  accord 
ing  to  his  own  feelings,  and  it  must  be  left  to  each  to  determine 
this  for  himself.  For  that  one  should  sacrifice  his  own  happi 
ness,  his  true  wants,  in  order  to  promote  that  of  others,  would 
be  a  self-contradictory  maxim  if  made  a  universal  law.  This 
duty,  therefore,  is  only  indeterminate ;  it  has  a  certain  latitude 
within  which  one  may  do  more  or  less  without  our  being  able 
to  assign  its  limits  definitely.  The  law  holds  only  for  the 
maxims,  not  for  definite  actions. 

(b)  Moral  well-being  of  others  (salus  moralis)  also  belongs  to 
the  happiness  of  others,  which  it  is  our  duty  to  promote,  but 
only  a  negative  duty.  The  pain  that  a  man  feels  from  remorse 
of  conscience,  although  its  origin  is  moral,  is  yet  in  its  operation 
physical,  like  grief,  fear,  and  every  other  diseased  condition. 
To  take  care  that  he  should  not  be  deservedly  smitten  by  this 
inward  reproach  is  not  indeed  my  duty  but  his  business ;  never 
theless,  it  is  my  duty  to  do  nothing  which  by  the  nature  of  man 
might  seduce  him  to  that  for  which  his  conscience  may  hereafter 
torment  him,  that  is,  it  is  my  duty  not  to  give  him  occasion  of 
stumbling  [Skandal],  But  there  are  no  definite  limits  within 
which  this  care  for  the  moral  satisfaction  of  others  must  be 
kept ;  therefore  it  involves  only  an  indeterminate  obligation. 

'  ["  Whatever  I  judge  reasonable  or  unreasonable  for  another  to  do  for 
Me:  That,  b}'  the  same  judgment,  I  declare  reasonable  or  unreasonable 
that  I  in  the  like  case  do  for  Him  " — Clarke's  Discourse,  etc.,  p.  f £§, 
ed.  1728.] 


(24 1 )  IX.—  What  is  a  Duty  of  Virtue? 

Virtue  is  the  strength  of  the  man's  maxim  in  his  obedience 
to  duty.  All  strength  is  known  only  by  the  obstacles  that  it 
can  overcome  ;  and  in  the  case  of  virtue  the  obstacles  are  the 
natural  inclinations  which  may  come  into  conflict  with  the 
moral  purpose ;  and  as  it  is  the  man  who  himself  puts  these 
obstacles  in  the  way  of  his  maxims,  hence  virtue  is  not  merely 
a  self-constraint  (for  that  might  be  an  effort  of  one  inclination 
to  constrain  another),  but  is  also  a  constraint  according  to  a 
principle  of  inward  freedom,  and  therefore  by  the  mere  idea  of 
duty,  according  to  its  formal  law.1 

All  duties  involve  a  notion  of  necessitation  by  the  law,  and 
ethical  duties  involve  a  necessitation  for  which  only  an  internal 
legislation  is  possible ;  juridical  duties,  on  the  other  hand,  one 
for  which  external  legislation  also  is  possible.  Both,  therefore 
include  the  notion  of  constraint,  either  self-constraint  or  con 
straint  by  others.  The  moral  power  of  the  former  is  virtue,  and 
the  action  springing  from  such  a  disposition  (from  reverence  for 
the  law)  may  be  called  a  virtuous  action  (ethical),  although  the 
law  expresses  a  juridical  duty.  For  it  is  the  doctrine  of  virtue 
that  commands  us  to  regard  the  rights  of  men  as  holy. 

But  it  does  not  follow  that  everything  the  doing  of  which 
is  virtue  is,  properly  speaking,  a  duty  of  virtue.  The  former 
may  concern  merely  the  form  of  the  maxims ;  the  latter  applies 
to  the  matter  of  them,  namely,  to  an  end  which  is  also  conceived 
as  duty.  Now,  as  the  ethical  obligation  to  ends  of  which  there 
may  be  many,  is  only  indeterminate,  because  it  contains  only  a 
law  for  the  maxim  of  actions  (242),  and  the  end  is  the  matter 
(object)  of  elective  will ;  hence  there  are  many  duties,  differing 

1  [This  agrees  with  Dr.  Adams'  definition  of  virtue,  which,  he  says, 
implies  trial  and  conflict.  He  defines  it,  "the  conformity  of  imperfect 
beings  to  the  dictates  of  reason."  Other  English  moralists  use  "  virtue  " 
in  the  sense  of  Aristotle's  aptr-fr.  Hence  a  difference  more  verbal  than 
real  as  to  the  relation  of  virtue  to  self-denial.] 


306  PREFACE   TO   THE  ['243 

according  to  the  difference  of  lawful  ends,  which  may  be  callei 
duties  of  virtue  (ojficia  honestatis),  just  because  they  are  subjec 
only  to  free  self-constraint,  not  to  the  constraint  of  other  men 
and  determine  the  end  which  is  also  a  duty. 

Virtue  being  a  coincidence  of  the  rational  will,  with  ever 
duty  firmly  settled  in  the  character,  is,  like  every  thing  formal 
only  one  and  the  same.  But,  as  regards  the  end  of  actions 
which  is  also  duty,  that  is,  as  regards  the  matter  which  on< 
ought  to  make  an  end,  there  may  be  several  virtues ;  and  as  th< 
obligation  to  its  maxim  is  called  a  duty  of  virtue,  it  follows  tha 
there  are  also  several  duties  of  virtue. 

The  supreme  principle  of  Ethics  (the  doctrine  of  virtue)  is 
"  Act  on  a  maxim,  the  ends  of  which  are  such  as  it  might  be  ; 
universal  law  for  everyone  to  have."  On  this  principle  a  mai 
is  an  end  to  himself  as  well  as  others,  and  it  is  not  enough  thai 
he  is  not  permitted  to  use  either  himself  or  others  merel) 
as  means  (which  would  imply  that  he  might  be  indifferenl 
to  them),  but  it  is  in  itself  a  duty  of  every  man  to  mak< 
mankind  in  general  his  end. 

The  principle  of  Ethics  being  a  categorical  imperativt 
does  not  admit  of  proof,  but  it  admits  of  a  justificatior 
[Deduction]1  from  principles  of  pure  practical  reason.  What 
ever  in  relation  to  mankind,  to  oneself,  and  others  can  be  an 
end,  that  is  an  end  for  pure  practical  reason  ;  for  this  is  v 
faculty  of  assigning  ends  in  general ;  and  to  be  indifferent  t< 
them,  that  is,  to  take  no  interest  in  them,  is  a  contradiction 
since  in  that  case  it  would  not  determine  the  maxims  of  actions 
(which  always  involve  an  end),  and  consequently  would  cease  t( 
be  practical  reasons  (243).  Pure  reason, however, cannot  command 
any  ends  a  priori,  except  so  far  as  it  declares  the  same  to  be 
also  a  duty,  which  duty  is  then  called  a  duty  of  virtue. 

1  [Kant  here  and  elsewhere  uses  "Deduction"  in  a  technical  legal 
sense.  There  is  dedtwtio  facti,  and  deductio  juris  :  Kant's  Deduction  is 
exclusively  the  latter. 


X. — The  Supreme  Principle  of  Jurisprudence  was  Analytical  ; 
that  of  Ethics  Synthetical. 

That  external  constraint,  so  far  as  it  withstands  that  which 
hinders  the  external  freedom  that  agrees  with  general  laws  (is 
an  obstacle  of  the  obstacle  thereto),  can  be  consistent  with  ends 
generally  is  clear  on  the  principle  of  Contradiction,  and  I  need 
not  go  beyond  the  notion  of  freedom  in  order  to  see  it,  let  the 
end  which  each  has  be  what  he  will.  Accordingly,  the  supreme 
principle  of  jurisprudence,  is  an  analytical  principle.1  On  the  con 
trary,  the  principle  of  Ethics  goes  beyond  the  notion  of  external 
freedom,  and  by  general  laws  connects  further  with  it  an  end 
which  it  makes  a  duty.  This  principle,  therefore,  is  synthetic. 
The  possibility  of  it  is  contained  in  the  Deduction  (§  ix.). 

This  enlargement  of  the  notion  of  duty  beyond  that  of 
external  freedom  and  of  its  limitation  by  the  merely  formal 
condition  of  its  constant  harmony ;  this,  I  say,  in  which  instead 
of  constraint  from  without,  there  is  set  up  freedom  within,  the 
power  of  self-constraint,  and  that  not  by  the  help  of  other 
inclinations,  but  by  pure  practical  reason  (which  scorns  all  such 
help),  consists  in  this  fact,  which  raises  it  above  juridical  duty  ; 
that  by  it  ends  are  proposed  from  which  jurisprudence  altogether 
abstracts.  In  the  case  of  the  moral  imperative,  and  the  suppo 
sition  of  freedom  which  it  necessarily  involves,  the  law,  the  power 
(to  fulfil  it)  (244)  and  the  rational  will  that  determines  the  maxim, 
constitute  all  the  elements  that  form  the  notion  of  juridical 
duty.  But  in  the  imperative,  which  commands  the  duty  of  virtue, 
there  is  added,  besides  the  notion  of  self-constraint,  that  of  an 
end ;  not  one  that  we  have,  but  that  we  ought  to  have,  which, 
therefore,  pure  practical  reason  has  in  itself,  whose  highest,  un 
conditional  end  (which,  however,  continues  to  be  duty)  consists 
in  this :  that  virtue  is  its  own  end,  and  by  deserving  well  of 
men  is  also  its  own  reward.  Herein  it  shines  so  brightly  as  an 

1  [The  supreme  principle  of  jurisprudence  is  :  "  Act  externally  so 
that  the  free  use  of  thy  elective  will  may  not  interfere  with  the  freedom 
of  any  man  so  far  as  it  agrees  with  universal  law." — Rechtslehre,  p.  33.] 


308  PREFACE   TO   THE  [245] 

ideal  to  human  perceptions,  it  seems  to  cast  in  the  shade 
even  holiness  itself,  which  is  never  tempted  to  transgression.1 
This,  however,  is  an  illusion  arising  from  the  fact  that  as  we 
have  no  measure  for  the  degree  of  strength  except  the  greatness 
of  the  obstacles  which  might  have  been  overcome  (which  in  our 
case  are  the  inclinations),  we  are  led  to  mistake  the  subjective 
conditions  of  estimation  of  a  magnitude  for  the  objective  con 
ditions  of  the  magnitude  itself.  But  when  compared  with 
human  ends,  all  of  which  have  their  obstacles  to  be  overcome,  it 
is  true  that  the  worth  of  virtue  itself,  which  is  its  own  end,  far 
outweighs  the  worth  of  all  the  utility  and  all  the  empirical  ends 
and  advantages  which  it  may  have  as  consequences. 

We  may,  indeed,  say  that  man  is  obliged  to  virtue  (as  a 
moral  strength).  For  although  the  power  (facultas]  to  overcome 
all  imposing  sensible  impulses  by  virtue  of  his  freedom  can  and 
must  be  presupposed,  yet  this  power  regarded  as  strength  (robur} 
is  something  that  must  be  acquired  by  the  moral  spring  (245) 
(the  idea  of  the  law)  being  elevated  by  contemplation  of  the 
dignity  of  the  pure  law  of  reason  in  us,  and  at  the  same  time 
also  by  exercise. 

1  So  that  one  might  vary  two  well-known  lines  of  Haller  thus : — 

"  With  all  his  failings,  man  is  still 
Better  than  angels  void  of  will." 

[Haller's  lines  occur  in  the  poem,  ,,Utbtr  ttn  Urfptung  be*  Ucbtts" — 

,,!Dnnn  ®ett  liebt  fttnen  Sroang  ;  tie  2Bdt  mit  ityten  2J?dngdn 
3fl  feeder  aU  ein  SRci($  son  roiflenlofen  Cngtln."] 




XI. — According  to  the  preceding  Principles,  the  Scheme  of  DvMes 
of  Virtue  may  be  thus  exhibited. 


The  Material  Element  of  the  Duty  of  Virtue. 






1.  2. 

My  own  end,  which     The  End  of  Other*, 

is  also  my  Duty.  the  promotion  of  which 

is  also  my  Duty. 

(My   own    Per  fee-     (The   Happiness   of 
tion.)  Others.) 

3.  4. 

The    Law    which    is    The  End  which  is  also 
also  Spring.  Spring. 

On  which  the  Mora-     On  which  the  Lega 
lity  lity 

of  every  free  determination  of  will  rests. 
The  Formal  Element  of  the  Duty  of  Virtue. 




[2461  XII. — Preliminary  Notions  of  the  Susceptibility  of  the  Mind 
for  Notions  of  Duty  generally. 

These  are  such  moral  qualities  as,  when  a  man  does  not 
possess  them,  he  is  not  bound  to  acquire  them.  They  are  :  the 
moral  feeling,  conscience,  love  of  one's  neighbour,  and  respect  for 
ourselves  (self-esteem).  There  is  no  obligation  to  have  these,  since 
they  are  subjective,  conditions  of  susceptibility  for  the  notion  of 
duty,  not  objective  conditions  of  morality.  They  are  all  sensi 
tive  and  antecedent,  but  natural  capacities  of  mind  [prcedispositio] 
to  be  affected  by  notions  of  duty ;  capacities  which  it  cannot  be 

310  PREFACE   TO  THE  [24?] 

regarded  as  a  duty  to  have,  but  which  every  man  has,  and  by 
virtue  of  which  he  can  be  brought  under  obligation.  The  con 
sciousness  of  them  is  not  of  empirical  origin,  but  can  only  follow 
on  that  of  a  moral  law,  as  an  effect  of  the  same  on  the  mind. 

(A.)— The  Moral  Feeling. 

This  is  the  susceptibility  for  pleasure  or  displeasure,  merely 
rom  the  consciousness  of  the  agreement  or  disagreement  of  our 
action  with  the  law  of  duty.  Now,  every  determination  of  the 
elective  will  proceeds  from  the  idea  of  the  possible  action  through 
the  feeling  of  pleasure  or  displeasure  in  taking  an  interest  in  it 
or  its  effect  to  the  deed ;  and  here  the  sensitive  state  (the  affec 
tion  of  the  internal  sense)  is  either  a  pathological  or  a  moral 
feeling.  The  former  is  the  feeling  that  precedes  the  idea  of 
the  law,  the  latter  that  which  may  follow  it. 

(24?)  Now  it  cannot  be  a  duty  to  have  a  moral  feeling,  or  to 
acquire  it ;  for  all  consciousness  of  obligation  supposes  this  feel 
ing  in  order  that  one  may  become  conscious  of  the  necessitation 
that  lies  in  the  notion  of  duty  ;  but  every  man  (as  a  moral  being) 
has  it  originally  in  himself ;  the  obligation  then  can  only  extend 
to  the  cultivation  of  it  and  the  strengthening  of  it  even  by  admi 
ration  of  its  inscrutable  origin ;  and  this  is  effected  by  showing 
how  it  is  just  by  the  mere  conception  of  reason  that  it  is  excited 
most  strongly,  in  its  own  purity  and  apart  from  every  patho 
logical  stimulus ;  and  it  is  improper  to  call  this  feeling  a  moral 
sense ;  for  the  word  sense  generally  means  a  theoretical  power 
of  perception  directed  to  an  object ;  whereas  the  moral  feeling 
(like  pleasure  and  displeasure  in  general)  is  something  merely 
subjective,  which  supplies  no  knowledge.  No  man  is  wholly 
destitute  of  moral  feeling,  for  if  he  were  totally  unsusceptible 
of  this  sensation  he  would  be  morally  dead;  and,  to  speak  in 
the  language  of  physicians,  if  the  moral  vital  force  could  no 
longer  produce  any  effect  on  this  feeling,  then  his  humanity 
would  be  dissolved  (as  it  were  by  chemical  laws)  into  mere 
animality,  and  be  irrevocably  confounded  with  the  mass  of  other 
physical  beings.  But  we  have  no  special  sense  for  (moral)  good 


and  evil  any  more  than  for  truth,  although  such  expressions  are 
often  used ;  but  we  have  a  susceptibility  of  the  free  elective  will 
for  being  moved  by  pure  practical  reason  and  its  law ;  and  it  is 
this  that  we  call  the  moral  feeling. 

(B).—  Of  Conscience. 

Similarly,  conscience  is  not  a  thing  to  be  acquired,  and  it  is 
not  a  duty  to  acquire  it  (248) ;  but  every  man,  as  a  moral  being, 
has  it  originally  within  him.  To  be  bound  to  have  a  conscience 
would  be  as  much  as  to  say  to  be  under  a  duty  to  recognize 
duties.  For  conscience  is  practical  reason  which,  in  every  case 
of  law,  holds  before  a  man  his  duty  for  acquittal  or  condem 
nation  ;  consequently  it  does  not  refer  to  an  object,  but  only 
to  the  subject  (affecting  the  moral  feeling  by  its  own  act) ;  so 
that  it  is  an  inevitable  fact,  not  an  obligation  and  duty.  When, 
therefore,  it  is  said  :  this  man  has  no  conscience,  what  is  meant 
is,  that  he  pays  no  heed  to  its  dictates.  For  if  he  really  had 
none,  he  would  not  take  credit  to  himself  for  anything  done 
according  to  duty,  nor  reproach  himself  with  violation  of  duty, 
and  therefore  he  would  be  unable  even  to  conceive  the  duty  of 
having  a  conscience. 

I  pass  by  the  manifold  subdivisions  of  conscience,  and  only 
observe  what  follows  from  what  has  just  been  said,  namely, 
that  there  is  no  such  thing  as  an  erring  conscience.  No  doubt 
it  is  possible  sometimes  to  err  in  the  objective  judgment  whether 
something  is  a  duty  or  not ;  but  I  cannot  err  in  the  subjective 
whether  I  have  compared  it  with  my  practical  (here  judicially 
acting)  reason  for  the  purpose  of  that  judgment;  for  if  I  erred 
I  would  not  have  exercised  practical  judgment  at  all,  and  in 
that  case  there  is  neither  truth  nor  error.  Unconscientiousness 
is  not  want  of  conscience,  but  the  propensity  not  to  heed  its 
judgment.  But  when  a  man  is  conscious  of  having  acted 
according  to  his  conscience,  then,  as  far  as  regards  guilt  or 
innocence,  nothing  more  can  be  required  of  him,  only  he  is 
bound  to  enlighten  his  imderstanding  as  to  what  is  duty  or  not ; 
but  when  it  comes  or  has  come  to  action,  then  conscience 

312  PREFACE   TO   THE  [249] 

speaks  involuntarily  and  inevitably.  To  act  conscientiously  can 
therefore  not  be  a  duty,  since  otherwise  it  would  be  necessary 
to  have  a  second  conscience,  in  order  to  be  conscious  of  the  act 
of  the  first. 

(249)  The  duty  here  is  only  to  cultivate  our  conscience,  to 
quicken  our  attention  to  the  voice  of  the  internal  judge,  and  to 
use  all  means  to  secure  obedience  to  it,  and  is  thus  our  indirect 

(C.)— Of  I^ove  to  l«en. 

Love  is  a  matter  of  feeling,  not  of  will  or  volition,  and  I 
cannot  love  because  I  will  to  do  so,  still  less  because  I  ought 
(I  cannot  be  necessitated  to  love);  hence  there  is  no  such  thing 
as  a  duty  to  love.  Benevolence,  however  (amor  benevolcntiw.) ,  as  a 
mode  of  action,  may  be  subject  to  a  law  of  duty.  Disinterested 
benevolence  is  often  called  (though  very  improperly)  love ;  even 
where  the  happiness  of  the  other  is  not  concerned,  but  the 
complete  and  free  surrender  of  all  one's  own  ends  to  the  ends  of 
another  (even  a  superhuman)  being,  love  is  spoken  of  as  being 
also  our  duty.  But  all  duty  is  necessitation  or  constraint, 
although  it  may  be  self-constraint  according  to  a  law.  But 
what  is  done  from  constraint  is  not  done  from  love. 

It  is  a  duty  to  do  good  to  other  men  according  to  our  power, 
whether  we  love  them  or  not,  and  this  duty  loses  nothing  of 
its  weight,  although  we  must  make  the  sad  remark  that  our 
species,  alas  !  is  not  such  as  to  be  found  particularly  worthy  of 
love  when  we  know  it  more  closely.  Hatred  of  men,  however, 
is  always  hateful :  even  though  without  any  active  hostility  it 
consists  only  in  complete  aversion  from  mankind  (the  solitary 
misanthropy).  For  benevolence  still  remains  a  duty  even 
towards  the  manhater,  whom  one  cannot  love,  but  to  whom 
we  can  show  kindness. 

To  hate  vice  in  men  is  neither  duty  nor  against  duty,  but 
a  mere  feeling  of  horror  of  vice,  the  will  having  no  influence  on 
the  feeling  (250)  nor  the  feeling  on  the  will.  Beneficence  is  a 

1  [On  Conscience,  compare  the  note  at  the  end  of  this  Introduction.] 


duty.  He  who  often  practises  this,  and  sees  his  beneficent 
purpose  succeed,  conies  at  last  really  to  love  him  whom  he 
has  benefited.  "When,  therefore,  it  is  said :  Thou  shalt  love 
thy  neighbour  as  thyself,  this  does  not  mean :  Thou  shalt  first 
of  all  love,  and  by  means  of  this  love  (in  the  next  place)  do  him 
good ;  but :  Do  good  to  thy  neighbour,  and  this  beneficence 
will  produce  in  thee  the  love  of  men  (as  a  settled  habit  of 
inclination  to  beneficence). 

The  love  of  complacency  (amor  complacentice)  would  therefore 
alone  be  direct.  This  is  a  pleasure  immediately  connected 
with  the  idea  of  the  existence  of  an  object,  and  to  have  a  duty 
to  this,  that  is,  to  be  necessitated  to  find  pleasure  in  a  thing,  is 
a  contradiction. 

(D.)— Of  Respect. 

Kespect  (reverentia)  is  likewise  something  merely  subjective ; 
a  feeling  of  a  peculiar  kind  not  a  judgment  about  an  object 
which  it  would  be  a  duty  to  effect  or  to  advance.  For  if  con 
sidered  as  duty  it  could  only  be  conceived  as  such  by  means 
of  the  respect  which  we  have  for  it.  To  have  a  duty  to  this, 
therefore,  would  be  as  much  as  to  say,  to  be  bound  in  duty  to 
have  a  duty.  When,  therefore,  it  is  said :  Man  has  a  duty  of 
self-esteem,  this  is  improperly  stated,  and  we  ought  rather  to 
say :  The  law  within  him  inevitably  forces  from  him  respect 
for  his  own  being,  and  this  feeling  (which  is  of  a  peculiar 
kind)  is  a  basis  of  certain  duties,  that  is,  of  certain  actions 
which  may  be  consistent  with  his  duty  to  himself.  But  we 
cannot  say  that  he  has  a  duty  of  respect  for  himself ;  for  he 
must  have  respect  for  the  law  within  himself,  in  order  to  be 
able  to  conceive  duty  at  all. 

(251)  XIII. — General  Principles  of  the  Metaphysics  of  Morals  in 
the  treatment  of  Pure  Ethics. 

First.  A  duty  can  have  only  a  single  ground  of  obligation ; 
and  if  two  or  more  proofs  of  it  are  adduced,  this  is  a  certain 
mark  that  either  no  valid  proof  has  yet  been  given,  or  that 

314  PREFACE   TO   THE  [252] 

there  are  several  distinct  duties  which  have  been  regarded 
as  one. 

For  all  moral  proofs,  being  philosophical,  can  only  be 
drawn  by  means  of  rational  knowledge  from  concepts,  not  like 
mathematics,  through  the  construction  of  concepts.  The  latter 
science  admits  a  variety  of  proofs  of  one  and  the  same  theorem ; 
because  in  intuition  a  priori  there  may  be  several  properties  of 
an  object,  all  of  which  lead  back  to  the  very  same  principle. 
If,  for  instance,  to  prove  the  duty  of  veracity,  an  argument 
is  drawn  first  from  the  harm  that  a  lie  causes  to  other  men ; 
another  from  the  worthlesmess  of  a  liar,  and  the  violation  of  his 
own  self-respect,  what  is  proved  in  the  former  argument  is  a 
duty  of  benevolence,  not  of  veracity,  that  is  to  say,  not  the 
duty  which  required  to  be  proved,  but  a  different  one.  Now,  if 
in  giving  a  variety  of  proofs  for  one  and  the  same  theorem,  we 
flatter  ourselves  That  the  multitude  of  reasons  will  compensate 
the  lack  of  weight  in  each  taken  separately,  this  is  a  very 
imphilosophical  resource,  since  it  betrays  trickery  and  dis 
honesty  ;  for  several  insufficient  proofs  placed  beside  one  anotlier 
do  not  produce  certainty,  nor  even  probability.  (252)  They 
should  advance  as  reason  and  consequence  in  a  scries,  up  to 
the  sufficient  reason,  and  it  is  only  in  this  way  that  they  can 
have  the  force  of  proof.  Yet  the  former  is  the  usual  device 
of  the  rhetorician. 

Secondly.  The  difference  between  virtue  and  vice  cannot  be 
sought  in  the  deyrce  in  which  certain  maxims  are  followed,  but 
only  in  the  specific  quality  of  the  maxims  (their  relation  to  the 
law).  In  other  words,  the  vaunted  principle  of  Aristotle,  that 
virtue  is  the  mean  between  two  vices,  is  false.1  For  instance, 

1  The  common  classical  formula)  of  Ethics — medio  tuttssimus  ibis ; 
omne  nimium  vertitur  in  vitium ;  est  modus  in  rebus,  &c.  ;  medium 
tenuere  beati;  virtus  est  medium  vitiorum  et  utrinque  reductum— contain 
a  poor  sort  of  wisdom,  which  has  no  definite  principles  :  for  this  mean 
between  two  extremes,  who  will  assign  it  for  me  ?  Avarice  (as  a  vice)  is 
not  distinguished  from  frugality  (as  a  virtue)  by  merely  being  the  latter 
pushed  too  far  ;  but  has  a  quite  different  principle  (maxim),  namely, 
placing  the  end  of  economy  not  in  the  enjoyment  of  one's  means,  but  in 


suppose  that  good  management  is  given  as  the  mean  between 
two  vices,  prodigality  and  avarice ;  then  its  origin  as  a  virtue 
can  neither  be  defined  as  the  gradual  diminution  of  the  former 
vice  (by  saving)  nor  as  the  increase  of  the  expenses  of  the 
miserly.  These  vices,  in  fact,  cannot  be  viewed  as  if  they, 
proceeding  as  it  were  in  opposite  directions,  met  together  in 
good  management ;  but  each  of  them  has  its  own  maxim, 
which  necessarily  contradicts  that  of  the  other. 

(253)  For  the  same  reason,  no  vice  can  be  defined  as  an 
excess  in  the  practice  of  certain  actions  beyond  what  is  proper 
(ex.  gr.  Prodigalitas  cst  exccssus  in  consumendis  opibus) ;  or,  as  a 
less  exercise  of  them  than  is  fitting  (Avaritia  est  defectus,  &c.). 
For  since  in  this  way  the  degree  is  left  quite  undefined,  and 
the  question  whether  conduct  accords  with  duty  or  not,  turns 
wholly  on  this,  such  an  account  is  of  no  use  as  a  definition.1 

Thirdly.  Ethical  virtue  must  not  be  estimated  by  the  power 

the  mere  possession  of  them,  renouncing  enjoyment  ;  just  as  the  vice  of 
prodigality  is  not  to  be  sought  in  the  excessive  enjoyment  of  one's 
means,  but  in  the  bad  maxiin  which  makes  the  use  of  them,  without 
regard  to  their  maintenance,  the  sole  end. 

1  ["  The  assertion  that  we  should  do  nothing  either  too  little  or  too 
much  means  nothing,  for  it  is  tautological.  What  is  it  to  do  too  much  1 
Answer — More  than  is  right-  What  is  it  to  do  too  little  ?  Answer — To 
do  less  than  is  right.  What  is  the  meaning  of,  I  ought  (to  do  something, 
or  leave  it  undone)  ?  Answer — It  is  not  right  (against  duty)  to  do  more  or 
less  than  is  right.  If  that  is  the  wisdom  for  which  we  must  go  back  to 
the  ancients  (to  Aristotle),  as  if  they  were  nearer  the  source,  we  have 
chosen  ill  in  turning  to  their  oracle.  Between  truth  and  falsehood 
(which  are  contradictories)  there  is  no  mean  ;  there  may  be,  however, 
between  frankness  and  reserve  (which  are  contraries).  In  the  case  of 
the  man  who  declares  his  opinion,  all  that  he  says  is  true,  but  he  does 
not  say  all  the  truth.  Now,  it  is  very  natural  to  ask  the  moral  teacher  to 
point  out  to  me  this  mean.  This,  however,  he  cannot  do,  for  both  duties 
have  a  certain  latitude  in  their  application,  and  the  right  thing  to  do  can 
only  be  decided  by  the  judgment,  according  to  rules  of  prudence 
(pragmatical  rules),  not  those  of  morality  (moral  rules),  that  is  to  say, 
not  as  strict  duty  (officium  strictum),  but  as  indeterminate  (officium  latum). 
Hence  the  man  who  follows  the  principles  of  virtue  may  indeed  commit 
a  fault  (peccatum)  in  his  practice,  in  doing  more  or  less  than  prudence 

316  PREFACE   TO    THE  [254] 

we  attribute  to  man  of  fulfilling  the  law ;  but  conversely,  the 
moral  power  must  be  estimated  by  the  law,  which  commands 
categorically;  not,  therefore,  by  the  empirical  knowledge  that 
we  have  of  men  as  they  are,  but  by  the  rational  knowledge 
how,  according  to  the  ideas  of  humanity,  they  ought  to  be. 
These  three  maxims  of  the  scientific  treatment  of  Ethics  are 
opposed  to  the  older  apophthegms : — 

1.  There  is  only  one  virtue  and  only  one  vice. 

2.  Virtue  is  the  observance  of  the  mean  path  between  two 

opposite  vices. 

3.  Virtue  (like  prudence)  must  be  learned  from  experience. 

XIV. — Of  Virtue  in  General. 

Virtue  signifies  a  moral  strength  of  Will  [Wille].  But  this 
does  not  exhaust  the  notion ;  for  such  strength  might  also 
belong  to  a  holy  (superhuman)  being,  in  whom  no  opposing 
impulse  counteracts  the  law  of  his  rational  Will ;  who  therefore 
willingly  does  everything  in  accordance  with  the  law.  Virtue 
then  is  the  moral  strength  of  a  man's  Will  [Wille]  in  his 
obedience  to  duty ;  and  this  is  a  moral  neccssitation  by  his  own 
law  giving  reason  (254),  inasmuch  as  this  constitutes  itself  a 
power  executing  the  law.  It  is  not  itself  a  duty,  nor  is  it  a  duty 
to  possess  it  (otherwise  we  should  be  in  duty  bound  to  have  a 
duty),  but  it  commands,  and  accompanies  its  command  with  a 

prescribes  ;  but  adhering  strictly  to  these  principles,  he  does  not  commit 
a  vice  (vitium),  and  the  verse  of  Horace — 

Insani  sapiens  nomen  ferat,  aequus  iniqui, 
TJltra  qiiam  satis  est  virtutem  si  petat  ipsam — 

literally  understood,  is  fundamentally  false.  But  perhaps  sapieiis  here 
means  only  a  prudent  man,  who  does  not  form  a  chimerical  notion  of 
virtuous  perfection.  This  perfection  being  an  Ideal,  demands  approxi 
mation  to  this  end,  but  not  the  complete  attainment  of  it,  which 
surpasses  human  powers,  and  introduces  absurdity  (chimerical  imagina 
tion)  into  its  principle.  For  to  be  quite  too  virtuous,  that  is,  to  be  quite 
too  devoted  to  duty,  would  be  about  the  same  as  to  speak  of  making  a 
circle  quite  too  round,  or  a  straight  line  quite  too  straight." — Tuyendlehre, 
p.  287,  note.] 


moral  constraint  (one  possible  by  laws  of  internal  freedom) 
But  since  this  should  be  irresistible,  strength  is  requisite, 
and  the  degree  of  this  strength  can  be  estimated  only  by  the 
magnitude  of  the  hindrances  which  man  creates  for  himself  by 
his  inclinations.  Yices,  the  brood  of  unlawful  dispositions,  are 
the  monsters  that  he  has  to  combat;  wherefore  this  moral 
strength  as  fortitude  (fortitudo  moralis)  constitutes  the  greatest 
and  only  true  martial  glory  of  man ;  it  is  also  called  the  true 
wisdom,  namely,  the  practical,  because  it  makes  the  ultimate  end 
[=  final  cause]  of  the  existence  of  man  on  earth  its  own  end. 
Its  possession  alone  makes  man  free,  healthy,  rich,  a  king,  &c., 
nor  can  either  chance  or  fate  deprive  him  of  this,  since  he 
possesses  himself,  and  the  virtuous  cannot  lose  his  virtue. 

All  the  encomiums  bestowed  on  the  ideal  of  humanity  in  its 
moral  perfection  can  lose  nothing  of  their  practical  reality  by 
the  examples  of  what  men  now  are,  have  been,  or  will  probably 
be  hereafter ;  Anthropology  which  proceeds  from  mere  empirical 
knowledge  cannot  impair  anthroponomy  which  is  erected  by  the 
unconditionally  legislating  reason ;  and  although  virtue  may 
now  and  then  be  called  meritorious  (in  relation  to  men,  not  to 
the  law),  and  be  worthy  of  reward,  yet  in  itself,  as  it  is  its  own 
end,  so  also  it  must  be  regarded  as  its  own  reward. 

Virtue  considered  in  its  complete  perfection  is  therefore 
regarded  not  as  if  man  possessed  virtue,  but  as  if  virtue  possessed 
the  man  (255),  since  in  the  former  case  it  would  appear  as  though 
he  had  still  had  the  choice  (for  which  he  would  then  require 
another  virtue,  in  order  to  select  virtue  from  all  other  wares 
offered  to  him).  To  conceive  a  plurality  of  virtues  (as  we 
unavoidably  must)  is  nothing  else  but  to  conceive  various  moral 
objects  to  which  the  (rational)  will  is  led  by  the  single  principle 
of  virtue;  and  it  is  the  same  with  the  opposite  vices.  The 
expression  which  personifies  both  is  a  contrivance  for  affecting 
the  sensibility,  pointing,  however,  to  a  moral  sense.  Hence  it 
follows  that  an  Aesthetic  of  Morals  is  not  a  part,  but  a  subjec 
tive  exposition,  of  the  Metaphysic  of  Morals,  in  which  the 
emotions  that  accompany  the  necessitating  force  of  the  moral 
law  make  the  efficiency  of  that  force  to  be  felt ;  for  example : 

318  PREFACE  TO   THE  [256] 

disgust,  horror,  &c.,  which  give  a  sensible  form  to  the  moral 
aversion  in  order  to  gain  the  precedence  from  the  merely  sensible 

XV. — Of  the  Principle  on  which  Ethics  is  separated  from 

This  separation  on  which  the  subdivision  of  moral  philosophy 
in  general  rests,  is  founded  on  this  :  that  the  notion  of  Freedom 
which  is  common  to  both,  makes  it  necessary  to  divide  duties 
into  those  of  external  and  those  of  internal  freedom ;  the  latter 
of  which  alone  are  ethical.  Hence  this  internal  freedom  which 
is  the  condition  of  all  ethical  duty  must  be  discussed  as  a 
preliminary  (discursus  prceliminaris),  just  as  above  the  doctrine 
of  conscience  was  discussed  as  the  condition  of  all  duty. 

(256)   REMARKS. 
Of  the  Doctrine  of  Virtue  on  the  Principle  of  Internal  Freedom. 

Habit  (habitus)  is  a  facility  of  action  and  a  subjective  per 
fection  of  the  elective  will.  But  not  every  such  facility  is  a  free 
habit  (Jiabitus  libertatis) ;  for  if  it  is  custom  (assuetudo),  that  is,  a 
uniformity  of  action  which,  by  frequent  repetition,  has  become  a 
necessity,  then  it  is  not  a  habit  proceeding  from  freedom,  and 
therefore  not  a  moral  habit.  Virtue  therefore  cannot  be  defined 
as  a  habit  of  free  law-abiding  actions,  unless  indeed  we  add 
"determining  itself  in  its  action  by  the  idea  of  the  law";  and 
then  this  habit  is  not  a  property  of  the  elective  will,  but  of  the 
Rational  Will,  which  is  a  faculty  that  in  adopting  a  rule  also 
declares  it  to  be  a  universal  law,  and  it  is  only  such  a  habit  that 
can  be  reckoned  as  virtue.  Two  things  are  required  for  internal 
freedom :  to  be  master  of  oneself  in  a  given  case  (animus  sui 
compos),  and  to  have  command  over  oneself  (imperium  in  scmet- 
ipsum),  that  is  to  subdue  his  emotions  and  to  govern  his  passions. 
With  these  conditions  the  character  (indolcs)  is  noble  (erecta) ;  in 
the  opposite  case  it  is  ignoble  (indoles  abjecta  servo). 


XVI. —  Virtue  requires,  first  of  all,  Command  over  Oneself. 

Emotions  and  Passions  are  essentially  distinct ;  the  former 
belong  to  feeling  in  so  far  as  this  coming  before  reflection  makes 
it  more  difficult  or  even  impossible.  Hence  emotion  is  called 
hasty  [jah]  (animus  prceceps)  (257).  And  reason  declares  through 
the  notion  of  virtue  that  a  man  should  collect  himself ;  but  this 
weakness  in  the  life  of  one's  understanding,  joined  with  the 
strength  of  a  mental  excitement,  is  only  a  lack  of  virtue  (Untu- 
gend),  and  as  it  were  a  weak  and  childish  thing,  which  may  very 
well  consist  with  the  best  will,  and  has  further  this  one  good 
thing  in  it,  that  this  storm  soon  subsides.  A  propensity  to 
emotion  (ex.  gr.  resentment]  is  therefore  not  so  closely  related  to 
vice  as  passion  is.  Passion,  on  the  other  hand,  is  the  sensible 
appetite  grown  into  a  permanent  inclination  (ex.  gr.  hatred  in 
contrast  to  resentment).  The  calmness  with  which  one  indulges 
it  leaves  room  for  reflection  and  allows  the  mind  to  frame  prin 
ciples  thereon  for  itself;  and  thus  when  the  inclination  falls  upon 
what  contradicts  the  law,  to  brood  on  it,  to  allow  it  to  root  itself 
deeply,  and  thereby  to  take  up  evil  (as  of  set  purpose)  into  one's 
maxim;  and  this  is  then  specifically  evil,  that  is,  it  is  a  true  vice. 

Virtue  therefore,  in  so  far  as  it  is  based  on  internal  freedom, 
contains  a  positive  command  for  man,  namely,  that  he  should 
bring  all  his  powers  and  inclinations  under  his  rule  (that  of 
reason) ;  and  this  is  a  positive  precept  of  command  over  himself 
which  is  additional  to  the  prohibition,  namely,  that  he